The Chosen Frame(s) : Constructing STEM Groups for Underrepresented Minority Students at Kalamazoo College
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In the United States, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is a highly valued discipline because it upholds the economic wealth in the nation. However, the number of underrepresented minority students declaring and persisting in STEM have decreased, thus, causing the U.S. to construct solutions on how to recruit and retain these students in the field as a means to maintain a stable economy. Through the solutions the U.S. creates for their education system, specifically in STEM, they are marking underrepresented minority students as deficient since the nation believes the problem of retention originates from classes being too rigorous for these students. At the same time, the U.S. is projecting an image that they are invested in ensuring underrepresented minority students are entering and staying in STEM, nonetheless, this responsibility falls on the students to frame spaces of support and belonging within their institutions. Hence, this study focuses on three STEM groups for underrepresented minority students at Kalamazoo College: Sukuma Dow, Sukuma OU, and MAPS (Minority Association for Pre-Medical Students). This paper uses Benford & Snow's (2000) framing theory in order to examine how each STEM support group defines underrepresented minority students in STEM, and how they use their respective definitions to construct their spaces on campus in order to work towards the retention of underrepresented minority students.