The STEM Glass Ceiling

The Influence of Immigration Status on STEM Trajectories of Afro-Caribbean Women (A Narrative Approach)




Afro-Caribbean Women, STEM, Black Women, Caribbean, H1-B, STEM Trajectories, Immigration Status, Barriers to STEM, STEM Education, International Students, International Women in STEM, Women in STEM, Black Women in STEM, F1 Status, Undergraduate STEM education, STEM Careers, Graduate STEM education


Afro-Caribbean women initially construct their science identity outside of the U.S. in unique sociocultural contexts where Black is dominant and British-styled instruction remains intact. Afro-Caribbean women often experience the “triple threat” minoritizing effects of being Black, female, and international/non-immigrant when they pursue STEM education and careers in the United States. Using grounded theory methods, I gathered the narratives of eight Afro-Caribbean women in STEM education or careers in the United States to examine how citizenship/immigration status influenced their STEM trajectories. Participants described how their educational and career aspirations were either supported or constrained by citizenship. Immigration status, therefore, operated as a figurative glass ceiling for some of the Afro- Caribbean women in this study limiting degree and career choice.

Author Biography

Sophia Glenyse Rahming, Florida State University

Sophia Rahming, PhD is an Associate Director in the Center for the Advancement of Teaching at Florida State University. She graduated from the Higher Education PhD program at Florida State University.  She received Florida State University’s Fellow's Society Dissertation Fellowship, the W. Hugh Stickler Award for the Enhancement of Dissertation Research, the Legacy Fellowship, and other major graduate awards. She served formerly as the Deputy Director for Research on Equity in Science, Engineering, and Technology (RESET), a project focusing on black women and men in engineering. She also served as a research assistant for the Center for Postsecondary Success on multiple mixed method studies funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Education Science (IES). She served as the Parliamentarian for the National Black Graduate Student Association. Her research interests include science identity construction in international women of color; migration experiences of international women of color; gender in education and development; and technology issues in education in small and developing nations.


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How to Cite

Rahming, S. G. (2021). The STEM Glass Ceiling: The Influence of Immigration Status on STEM Trajectories of Afro-Caribbean Women (A Narrative Approach). Journal of International Students, 12(1).



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