Sophia Rahming

Florida State University

Sophia Rahming currently a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education program in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program. Her research interests include Caribbean women in STEM fields, equity in education, gender, migration, and minority issues, and access to higher education for underrepresented groups. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Social Sciences at the College of St. Benedict (Minnesota), and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a diploma in Specialized Learning for Diverse Learners from the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota).

Dissertation Title: Black Women in White Coats: Science Identity Construction in Afro-Caribbean Women

Dissertation Abstract: Sophia’s working dissertation title is “Black Women in White Coats: Science Identity Construction in Afro-Caribbean Women.” The principal aim of this grounded theory study is to investigate Science Identity Construction in Afro-Caribbean women pursuing undergraduate STEM education at research-intensive postsecondary institutions in the United States. Sophia intends to extend Carlone and Johnson’s (2007) research on science identity construction by developing new theory that centers the experiences of Afro-Caribbean women in STEM as a distinct and unique population of Black women. Nativity holds previously unexplored salience for science identity construction. Her interdisciplinary research therefore seeks to unite multiple strands of inquiry: science identity construction, social practice theory, and immigrant and migrant acculturation and assimilation theory with an emphasis on the effects of minoritization. She defines minoritization as process of ‘becoming’ a minority (e.g., proportion of the population, culturally, politically) in the new destination country for people who were formerly members of the dominant group in their home countries. Preliminary results indicate that the curriculum and structure of Caribbean education, in addition to governmental policies, may in part account for the academic preparedness and success of the Black Caribbean women in her study. Minoritization challenges involve previously unexperienced denial of access to power as well as tensions between hypervisibility and invisibility on college campuses.