Ms Deborah Tully

PhD candidate

A35 - Education Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 6358

Thesis work

Thesis title: Discovering pathways to persistence for underrepresented racial minority women in STEM: a comparative study of women's, historically Black, and coeducational liberal arts colleges in the United States

Supervisors: Debra HAYES , Anthony WELCH

Thesis abstract:

As our world becomes increasing reliant on technological advancements within the global marketplace, it is imperative that our universities keep pace with producing a workforce who can meet these demands. In the United States, the low participation rate of university students in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), specifically those from underrepresented minority groups, is an area of national concern. The U.S. Federal Government has spent more than $1.1 billion to secure a well-trained STEM workforce with a principal aim of focusing upon groups that are underrepresented in STEM. While these efforts have produced increased minority student STEM enrolment, retention results are less impressive. Minority women comprise more than 20% of the U.S. population yet earn less than 10% of STEM degrees. As the American population grows increasingly diverse, the scale of this underrepresentation poses major equity issues. Existing scholarly work points to the need to further understand the undergraduate experience of these women with the purpose of gaining a better grasp of how the organisational environment and social practices experienced at different types of universities affect the persistence of underrepresented racial minority (URM) women in STEM. This mixed-methods study aims to offer a comparative analysis of the contributions made by different types of liberal arts colleges in the United States towards promoting persistence for URM women in STEM with the hope of providing deeper insight into the contributions that these unique institutions offer towards empowering women of colour towards success and diversifying the STEM workforce. The outcomes of this study may illuminate how future university policies and practices can be shaped to further promote successful gains for women of colour in STEM.

Awards and honours

  • International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS)

  • Australian Postgraduate Award (APA)

To update your profile click here. For support on your academic profile contact .