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Negotiating Identity: A Look at the Educational Experiences of Black Undergraduates in STEM Disciplines

Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 89, No. 3

Oren L. Mclain , University of Virginia 


The purpose of this qualitative study is to investigate the mathematics educational experiences of Black undergraduate students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines at the University of Virginia. Using Murrell's (2009) situated-mediated identity theory as the theoretical framework, this study examines factors that influence the construction of mathematics identities of these students. Findings indicate that race significantly influenced the educational experiences of these students and, consequently, the construction of their identities as mathematics learners and doers.


Oren L. McClain is an assistant dean in the Office of African-American Affairs at the University of Virginia. In this role, he advises and supports undergraduate students in mathematics-intensive courses and majors. His research interests include equity in STEM education, mathematics identity construction, and mathematics educational experiences of minority students attending predominately White colleges and universities.