Project title: Social belonging in underrepresented minorities in higher education
Mentor: Bryan Dewsbury
Abstract: Vincent Tinto’s Social Integration Model suggests that poor social integration into a university community will lead students to decide to drop out or transfer. Drop out and transfer rates disproportionately affect minority students and retention into STEM majors tends to be more challenging in this aspect. The goal of the study is to find specific social factors that go into feelings of social belonging at a university that ultimately contribute to feelings of transferring or dropping out. There were semi-structured interviews with both white and minority students that were qualitatively coded for specific themes. There was a significant difference between white and minority students in both frequency and attitude. Many white students felt positively and supported by the University, while many minority students felt a lack of social belonging and support by the University.