What is STEM Identity?

We interviewed 12 researchers to learn how they're thinking about it.

One might think of “identity” as the way that people answer questions such as: “Who do I think I am, or who can I be, where do I belong, how do I think other people see me?”

The concept of “identity” has become increasingly important in informal science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and science communication. And a growing number of designers, evaluators, and researchers have claimed a science or STEM “identity” as an intended outcome for participants in their projects, educational programs, or studies.

In fall 2017, the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) asked a sample of STEM education researchers, science communication scholars, social psychologists, learning scientists, and informal science educators to share their thinking and work on this complex and rich topic.

Start with our overview, then delve into the diverse perspectives below to get a sense of the current landscape of research and practice in STEM identity.