Final Abstract for URS Program
Women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. We had 607 women majoring in STEM complete an online questionnaire reporting levels of coping, rejection sensitivity, stigma consciousness, and optimism and grade point average (GPA) was collected from school records. Results showed that higher rejection sensitivity predicts lower GPA even with higher coping skills. This indicates that even with good coping skills, higher fear of rejection for one's gender had a stronger effect on the academic performance of women in STEM. Additionally, higher optimism predicts higher GPA, but only for women with lower gender stigma consciousness. Optimism seems to be a more significant indicator of better academic performance than coping skills. Schools need to focus on lowering stigma consciousness by creating a more gender inclusive environment and fostering greater optimism in women students by having women role models in STEM careers.