Sense of Belonging and Help Seeking Strategies in STEM Majors at an HIS 

Mya Arellano and Dr. Amira Ibrahim 


There is a lack of women and underrepresented minority (URM) students, especially Hispanics, obtaining degrees in STEM. Women and URM students in STEM may perceive the college environment as unwelcoming, posing major threats to their sense of belonging (SB). Sense of belonging is a documented predictor of academic success and retention in college, but there is little data on how SB changes over the course of a semester. In addition, studies have shown that SB significantly predicts the use of adaptive help-seeking (HS) strategies and greatly influences if and how students seek help with their learning. We aim to determine 1) if SB relates to HS in STEM gateway courses at a HSI  and 2) if SB changes over the course of the semester in these courses. 105 undergraduate students were recruited from lower-division, STEM gateway courses at an Hispanic Serving Institution. Participants completed a baseline survey at the beginning of the Spring 2020 term with self-report measures of SB and HS. A second survey measuring SB was administered at the end of the semester. We hypothesize that HS is positively associated with SB and that SB will increase over the course of the semester in STEM gateway courses.


Session 1 – 1:30p.m. – 2:45p.m.

Room C – Sierra 2411