Academic Advising and the STEM Gender Gap

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Event Type: 
Brown Bag
Date and Time: 
Thursday, October 11, 2018
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Serena Canaan
American University of Beirut

Women are still underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Prior work highlights the importance of teachers, role models and peers in encouraging women to pursue STEM fields. As students navigate college, they are also exposed to an array of academic support services such as academic advising. While advising constitutes an integral part of most students’ college experience, it is unclear whether it plays a role in major choice. This paper attempts to fill this gap in the literature by exploiting a unique setting where students are randomly assigned to advisors in their first year of college. We find that female students assigned to female science advisors are significantly more likely to take science courses, as well as enroll in and graduate with STEM degrees.