Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 2-19-2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Donna Graham, Ph.D.

Content Specialist

Michael Hollis, Ph.D.

Content Reader

Julie McCann, Ph.D.


self-efficacy, American Indian/Alaskan Native, American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), predominately White institutions (PWI), identity


Native American people and Indigenous people are underrepresented in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. According to the National Science Foundation (NSF, 2015), Indigenous people represented 1.7% of the United States population, but only accounted for 0.6% of bachelor’s degrees, 0.4% of master’s degrees, and 0.2% of doctoral degrees in science and engineering. The low participation of Indigenous people in STEM disciplines have been attributed to reasons such as (a) lack of exposure, (b) lack of interest, (c) lack of confidence, (d) lack of a sense of belonging, and (e) lack of goal congruency. This qualitative research study sought to discover how Indigenous STEM graduates perceive a STEM nonprofit has contributed to their self-efficacy and educational experience. Data were gathered through a questionnaire, interviews, and a focus group with self-identifying Indigenous people who have completed a college degree within a STEM field since 2015 that have also held membership within AISES. Seventeen participants participated in the study. After manual and software coding, the data were analyzed in reference to the research question. Results revealed AISES has made major contributions to the self-efficacy and educational experiences of Indigenous STEM graduates. While both internal and external factors influenced graduates, self-efficacy, and educational experience, membership in AISES contributed to greater self-efficacy and the participants perceived AISES contributed to their educational and professional success. The findings also indicated more can be done to highlight the importance of STEM nonprofits and their contributions.