Science Education PhD student Luronne Vaval has been awarded the AERA Dissertation Grant for AY19-20. The proposal is titled "Is it as straightforward as it seems? Examining the STEM pipeline and persistence to the STEM workforce among high school students." Luronne works both with advisor Associate Professor of Science Education Chris Emdin in the Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology and Associate Professor of Education Leadership Alex Bowers in the Department of Organization & Leadership.

Luronne explains that the purpose of her dissertation in progress is “to examine the likelihood of persistence in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) pipeline using longitudinal data from participants in the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), a nationally generalizable dataset sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), who expressed interest in a STEM career in 10th grade. The STEM pipeline metaphor is the leading interpretative framework to study recruitment and retention in STEM and suggests that the pathway to a STEM career is a linear process consisting of successive academic milestones a student much reach.” The implications of Luronne’s research could be far-reaching, as the educational research field is particularly invested in determining where and how often attrition in this pipeline can occur. How do high school students eventually find their way into STEM careers? If they decide not to follow the STEM career pipeline, which factors influence their decision-making processes and when do they leave the pipeline? 

This research is already being recognized by the Science Education academic community. Luronne is first author on the paper “Identifying a typology of high schools based on their orientation toward STEM: A latent class analysis of HSLS: 09” just published in the journal Science Education. Co-authors are TC’s Professor Bowers and Virginia Snodgrass Rangel, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Houston. To read more about Luronne’s research, see links in the citation below.


Vaval, L., Bowers, A.J., & Snodgrass Rangel, V. (2019). Identifying a typology of high schools based on their orientation toward STEM: A latent class analysis of HSLS:09. Science Education, 103(5), 1151-1175. Retrieved from 

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