“I’m the Audacity Wiz!”: Technology Identity Development in Minority Youth
A critical challenge in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education continues to be keeping young students on a pathway to a successful STEM career once they have entered it. Many students express an early interest in STEM and even start down the road to obtaining a STEM degree, only to change direction later, an aspect of the so-called “leaky pipeline.” Underrepresented minority students, in particular, face serious roadblocks to entering and staying on the path. Often, in the absence of teachers, mentors, and STEM professionals who look like them, minority youth can have a difficult time envisioning themselves working in a STEM field. Their STEM identity, the condition of seeing themselves as a STEM person, is undeveloped. Moreover, the information technology (IT) field is exceptional in its lack of diversity, making the development of a strong technology identity extremely difficult for minorities. As part of a larger National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded study designed to examine how minority youth are impacted by participation in place-based digital humanities projects, we looked at whether and how the development of technology identity is affected by participating in digital humanities projects.