Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

Petros Katsioloudis

Committee Member

William Owings

Committee Member

Cynthia Tomovic


The nation is at a critical juncture in history as it seeks to increase the number of students who enter the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce. The national push to have a properly trained STEM workforce was at the forefront of the past administration’s top priority list. The higher education community has a unique opportunity to contribute to the creation of a sustainable U.S. STEM workforce. Although significant progress has been made in STEM fields, some argue that movement has been too slow in certain cases, as shown in degrees earned by women in engineering (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2020; Armstrong and Jovanovic, 2015; Nassar-McMillan et al., 2011; NSF, 2002; NSF, 2017). Advancing towards degree attainment in STEM dwindles even further when race is considered. In efforts to include women, sustainable measures are needed, such as retention and academic/non-academic support throughout all levels of education, which serve as a roadmap to the inclusion of underrepresented minorities in STEM.

This study sought to investigate the relationship between student engagement and academic achievement of African American female, full-time undergraduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors to African American female, full-time undergraduate students in non-STEM majors who matriculate at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The National Survey of Student Engagement and Demographic Variables from institutional effectiveness were used for data collection tools. The researcher used descriptive statistics, ANOVA and ANCOVA statistical tests to conduct this study. The results indicated that the learning with peers student engagement indicator influence on academic achievement was significant within and between study groups. The remaining student engagement indicators (experiences with faulty, supportive campus environment, and academic challenge), which served as independent variables, were not significant.

This study contributes to emerging research related to student engagement and academic achievement of undergraduate African American females in STEM fields. As the nation strives to increase the number of STEM degrees, transformational best practices that support underrepresented minorities, are topics of investigation. Feedback from this population assesses factors that influence degree completion and provide recommendations to increase program retention at higher education institutions across the country.


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