Symposium Two

Academically Gifted Black US Students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM): Faculty Perspectives on Achieving Successful Outcomes

Moderator: Fred A. Bonner II

Presenters: Fred A. Bonner II; Felecia Nave; Rosie Banda; Alonzo Flowers; and Tommy Stevenson.


This presentation focuses on research related to a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project titled An Empirical Investigation of the Success Factors Impacting Academically Gifted African American Students in Engineering and Technology at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This study was inducted by a research team comprised of faculty representing Prairie View A&M and Texas A&M Universities under the auspices of the National Science Foundation (NSF). As part of the Historically Black College and University Undergraduate Preparation (HBCU-UP) program Educational Research Project, this grant “provides awards to enhance the quality of undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as a means to broaden participation in the Nation's STEM workforce” (NSF, 2007). The presenters highlight the voices of faculty who are often excluded from the critical dialogue related to student success in STEM fields. A guiding question for this presentation includes: What do faculty members perceive to be the most important factors contributing to gifted Black students’ success in STEM disciplines and majors? The symposium presenters conclude with several tentative recommendations for stakeholders internal and external to higher education institutions who are interested in promoting the success of academically gifted students in STEM.

In addition, the moderator will highlight the experiences of academically gifted Black males in P-12 education settings in the United States, with a specific focus on the unique challenges and opportunities experienced by this cohort. A number of key conceptual and theoretical frameworks (i.e., liminality, intersectionality, scholar identity) will be explored. Recommendations for teachers, administrators, policy-makers, and parents will be provided. Parallels will be drawn among the experiences of Black males in the US and gifted marginalized populations (e.g. poor, immigrant) who interface with schools in other countries.