Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2021 Cristopher C. Alvarado. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license. For all other uses, please contact the copyright holder.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department

First Advisor

Diane Downer Anderson


There is a crisis of disenfranchised students dropping out of STEM majors and careers. The national STEM major retention rates in undergraduate institutions hovers around 40%, and this number is disproportionately smaller among marginalized students, especially women and students of color (Dagley et. al, 2015). These students, who struggle to identify within academic STEM communities, are failed by the inadequacy of texts that are unable to stimulate interest and engagement in their STEM identities. Based on student interviews, research of the literary market, and my own experiences, there is a severe de-emphasis on STEM nonfiction literature in the classroom for adolescent-aged students. Using a theoretical framework informed by Gholdy Muhammad’s Historically Responsive Literacy (HRL) framework, Pierre Bourdieu’s five major concepts, and Jean Lave & Etienne Wenger’s theory of situated learning informed by Claude Steele’s research on stereotype threat, I will argue for a need for more STEM nonfiction texts aimed at engaging a “young adult demographic” to further engage students that may otherwise decide to stop pursuing STEM.