Identifying leaks in the STEM recruitment pipeline among sexual and gender minority US secondary students

Casey D. Xavier Hall, Christine Virginia Wood, Manuel Hurtado, David Andrew Moskowitz, Christina Elizabeth Dyar, Brian Mustanski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose Research establishes the critical need to address the underrepresentation of women and racial/ethnic minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). While emergent research addresses similar challenges for sexual and gender minorities (SGM), this research remains scant and focuses on adult experiences. This analysis examines subgroup differences and the impact of bullying on STEM engagement outcomes among a national sample of SGM secondary students in the U.S. Method This report provides descriptive and multivariable regression analysis of national survey data (n = 539) on the experiences of pre-college students who identify as SGM, including the effects of within-school anti-SGM bullying on STEM identity, perceptions of STEM climate, and STEM intentions. Results Roughly 50% of the sample intended to enter a STEM field (compared to 25% in previous general samples). Bullying in school was negatively associated with STEM identity and perceptions of STEM climate. Sense of belonging is positively associated with perceptions of STEM climate and STEM intentions. Being non-binary and being a transgender man were associated with decreased sense of belonging and negative perception of STEM climate. Conclusion This report is the first to identify factors influencing STEM engagement among SGM secondary students and suggests that issues of STEM engagement are already present in adolescence. Moreover, the findings also establish the relationship between anti-SGM bullying and STEM outcomes highlighting the importance of this marginalization experience. Future research should further examine sub-group differences and the persistence of these effects. These findings highlight the need for research and intervention addressing STEM outcomes in SGM populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0268769
JournalPloS one
Issue number6 June
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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