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FSU study receives local, national and international attention

A study led by Samantha Nix, doctoral student in Higher Education, has gained enormous media coverage since its release in Frontiers in Psychology on June 9, 2015.

“It has been exciting to watch as news outlets and blogs started writing about our study,” said Dr. Lara Perez-Felkner, co-author and assistant professor of Higher Education. “We knew in advance about some, which contacted us in advance for comment and questions; others were a surprise.”

Perez-Felkner, Nix, and Thomas

Perceived mathematical ability under challenge: a longitudinal perspective on sex segregation among STEM degree fields” examines why some students shun math-intensive fields. Nix, Perez-Felkner, and Kirby Thomas, doctoral student in Sociology, investigated how perceived ability under challenge—particularly in mathematics domains—influences entry into the most sex-segregated and mathematics-intensive undergraduate degrees: physics, engineering, mathematics, and computer science (PEMC).

Perez-Felkner believes that the study has done well in the media because it resonates with many different audiences. “For those of us who care about STEM persistence in college, there’s something here for you. The same is true for those who care about career aspirations, course taking, and socialization for girls and boys in adolescence. In addition, we have all struggled with difficult math at some point in time, and responded to it with some combination of excitement about the challenge, frustration, and/or a sense of defeat.”

The study has been featured in:

“The media exposure is a pleasure, not only because the positive and critical attention benefit our research team and the university, but more importantly, it gets the word out about relevant considerations for teachers and schools, parents, students, and scholars,” said Perez-Felkner. “The more we can translate empirical findings to the public, and suggest appropriate actionable implications of the findings, the better we are as education researchers and social scientists at serving the public good with our skills.”

The study was supported through the FSU Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund and the National Science Foundation (NSF), which emphasizes the importance of broadening the impact of federally-funded research.

Photo credit: Bill Lax – Florida State University
*Google translate is useful for foreign-language articles

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