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Title: The benefits and challenges of a blended peer mentoring program for women peer mentors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
Purpose The unequitable representation among genders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees and careers remains a persisting challenge. Peer mentoring has been cited as one method for supporting women and racial and ethnic minorities in becoming interested in, experiencing self-efficacy in and persisting in STEM. The current study was undertaken to explore how and in what ways peer mentors' participation in the program (namely, the mentoring experience) influenced their STEM self-efficacy beliefs, interests, skills and behaviors, including their intent to persist and actual persistence in STEM. Design/methodology/approach Using a multisite case study design, the current study implemented a blended peer mentoring program at two historically black institutions. Findings The experience in the peer mentoring process increased mentors' self-efficacy, career interest, perceived mentoring skill development in most areas and intent to persist in STEM. Evidence from the interviews and open-ended survey questions demonstrated that the peer mentoring experience had a direct influence on the mentor's self-efficacy, career interest, leadership and professional skills and persistence. The thematic analysis of the data sources revealed that specific elements of the peer mentoring experience influenced mentors' beliefs, interests, skills and behaviors, including recognition, functioning as a mentor, developing an other's orientation, engaging in a sisterhood and developing competencies. Originality/value Findings support the benefit of the blended peer mentoring program model among women who identify as a racial or ethnic minority across two historically black college or universities (HBCUs). Peer mentoring programs should include training to increase competencies and skills, should provide resources targeted to specific mentor needs and should include opportunities for self-reflection and components of faculty support.  more » « less
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International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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