What is STEM Identity?
In everyday language, one might define “identity” as the way that people answer questions such as: “Who do I think I am, or who can I be, where do I belong, and how do I think other people see me?” The concept of identity has become an increasingly important factor in the study of informal science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and science communication. And a growing number of designers name an enhanced science or STEM identity as an intended outcome for participants in their activities and programs. In 2017, the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) Evaluation and Measurement Task Force asked a sample of 12 STEM education researchers, science communication scholars, social psychologists, learning scientists, and informal science educators to share their thinking and work on this complex and rich topic.
Start with our overview, then delve into the diverse perspectives below to get a sense of the current landscape of research and practice in STEM identity. Want more resources? Explore our catalog of STEM engagement projects, research, and evaluation reports, or check out our other interview series on interest and engagement.