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Exploring chemistry graduate student identity development and the intersection of multiple sub-identities
Bussey, ThomasHalter, ChristopherLo, StanleyGoldberg, FredReinholz, Daniel
Graduate education follows an apprenticeship model, primarily aimed at preparing students for academia; however, the inclusion of teaching within this apprenticeship is not always clear as faculty, students, and other stakeholders do not agree on the need for instructional training (Golde & Dore, 2001). Despite the variability in training, over half will be graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) at some point in their education. This number increases to 91% for chemistry graduate students. This discrepancy between hiring graduate students as GTAs and inconsistent inclusion of instructional training indicates a misalignment between the needs of graduate students and the support programs offer. In addition to this mismatch, there is a need to improve mentoring and support for graduate students as they navigate their programs (Harshman, 2021). In particular, graduate students spend a large portion of their time at work, yet are not treated as full people as many students cite that they must leave parts of their identities behind in academic spaces (Brown, 2016; Tran, 2011). To better support graduate students, we must first understand how graduate student identities develop. The foci of studies are generally placed either on teaching or research or identity, but not both simultaneously (Baker & Lattuca, 2010; Lane et al., 2018; Zotos et al., 2020). Graduate student identity has also been introduced as a lens for encompassing multiple sub-identities, however teaching identity is not emphasized. Through the collection of interviews from 18 chemistry graduate students and the administration of a modified survey across two institutions, this work expands upon the conceptualization of graduate student identity. Sociocultural and identity theories were employed to understand graduate student identity development. Mixed methods analysis with an emphasis on qualitative theme generation revealed that graduate students’ multiple identities often intersect, with research identity being the primary identity around which other identities develop. This includes teaching, student and personal identities such as socioeconomic status, international status, race, ethnicity, and gender. This works illustrates how multiple graduate student identities can develop and that supporting students as whole people including their personal identities and interests is important for a sense of belonging in the field.
Mathematics And Science Education
Mathematics and Statistics
University of California San Diego; San Diego State University
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) University of California Davis and San Diego State University, 2021
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