The influence of parents on undergraduate and graduate students entering the STEM disciplines and STEM careers Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This research examines the influence of parents on students studying the STEM disciplines and entering STEM careers. Cases of two graduate students (one female, one male) and one undergraduate student (male) are featured. The first two students in the convenience sample are biology and physics majors in a STEM teacher education programme; the third is enrolled in computer science. The narrative inquiry research method is used to elucidate the students academic trajectories. Incidents of circumstantial and planned parent curriculum making surfaced when the data was serially interpreted. Other themes included: (1) relationships between (student) learners and (teacher) parents, (2) invitations to inquiry, (3) modes of inquiry, (4) the improbability of certainty, and (5) changed narratives = changed lives. While policy briefs provide sweeping statements about parents positive effects on their children, narrative inquiries such as this one illuminate parents inquiry moves within home environments. These actions became retrospectively revealed in their adult childrens lived narratives. Nurtured by their mothers and/or fathers, students enter STEM disciplines and STEM-related careers through multiple pathways in addition to the anticipated pipeline.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Science Education

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • J. Craig, C., Verma, R., Stokes, D., Evans, P., & Abrol, B.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • J. Craig, Cheryl||Verma, Rakesh||Stokes, Donna||Evans, Paige||Abrol, Bobby

publication date

  • April 2018