Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Asian American Women’s Success [Stories] in STEM Fields in Higher Education: A Phenomenological Narrative Research

Nguyen, Dao T. (2023) Asian American Women’s Success [Stories] in STEM Fields in Higher Education: A Phenomenological Narrative Research. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (1MB) | Preview


My study used phenomenological narrative methodology to get insights into lived experiences of Asian American women (AAW) in STEM fields in higher education (HE). Conceptually, the feminist research approach overall guided my research inquiry. Theoretically, the intersectionality, cultures of the academy, leadership power, cumulative advantage, and social cognition framed my research design and data analysis to seek key factors most influencing the AAW’s career pipeline and advancement in STEM fields in HE. The findings presented in this dissertation were from two data sources: (1) forty-eight documents related to the participants’ institutions and their career pathway stories in varied STEM fields; and (2) ten in-depth semi-structured interviews with ten AAW at four-year universities across the US. My study informs that despite barriers rooted in the intersectionality of gender-based, racial, and hierarchical biases challenging them in different stages of their career pipeline, they have successfully advanced in their fields thanks to varied factors. Structurally at the macro level, they were supported by their institutional departments through their academic and work supervisors, advisors, mentors, and faculty. National, institutional, and departmental funding sources helped retain them in professional education and development. Pedagogy and leadership training programs prepared them to become tenured faculty and field leaders. They also had amicable and supportive work teams and social networks. In the family, their parents and husband provided them with encouragement and support so that they could retain and focus on their professional development. Race-and-ethnicity-liked-community was also a significant facilitator for their life and work. Individually at the micro-level, they stood out in their fields with their significant growth mindset and mind tools – a clear vision for their career choice, positive thinking, perseverance, resilience, time and conflict management, work/study-family balance, and bi-cultural competence.

My study provides implications for the nation, organizations/institutions on how to consolidate such established higher education values as academic freedom and shared governance and to improve their policy and praxis to facilitate more AAWs to advance in STEM fields and for individual AAWs on how to prepare themselves to be successful in their STEM career in HE.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Nguyen, Dao
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPorter, Maureenmporter@pitt.edumporter
Committee MemberMcClure, Maureenmmcclure@pitt.edummcclure
Committee MemberHune,
Committee MemberFinkel, Mugemfinkel@pitt.edumfinkel
Date: 21 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 24 May 2023
Approval Date: 21 September 2023
Submission Date: 10 August 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 218
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Feminist research; intersectionality; cultures of the academy; leadership power; phenomenological narrative methodology; success case method; policy and praxis
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2023 20:50
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2023 20:50


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item