Guiding Research Question: How do institutions of higher education retain minoritized women in STEM pathways?

Project 1: Women in Ethiopian Higher Education

Dr. Hailu’s primary research explores how women in Ethiopia navigate science and technology higher education. To this end, her doctoral research, Understanding Why Women Stay: Examining Persistence Factors of Women Majoring in Science and Technology Programs in Public Ethiopian Universities Using a Mixed Methods Design, focused on how women circumvent barriers in STEM education. Her research contributes to the field of higher education by showing how classic retention models for undergraduate students should be complicated when considering different national contexts. In the case of Ethiopia, it is evident that gender, ethnicity, and rurality are intersecting factors that influence the ability of students to graduate from college.

Project 2: Black Immigrant Women in Mathematics and Engineering

Dr. Hailu’s second project, “Using Critical Race Feminism to Explore the Experiences of Black Immigrant Women in Mathematics and Engineering,” examines the politicized, racialized, and gendered dimensions of traditionally “objective” disciplines. This work relies on critical discourse analysis, case studies, and surveys to better understand how Black immigrants use their cultural epistemologies to gain terminal degrees in pure mathematics and engineering.

Project 3: Comparative Database of Best Practices

Dr. Hailu’s third line of inquiry is an applied persistence model titled “Comparative Database of the Retention of Women in STEM Education.” In this emerging work, she uses large-scale quantitative survey methods to develop a regional database about best practices that help women graduate with STEM higher education degrees in sub-Saharan Africa.

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