The ‘chilly’ STEM climate in undergraduate settings has been widely documented, as women in STEM majors frequently face discrimination, microaggressions, and implicit bias from their professors and peers. While undergraduate research opportunities can help women in STEM overcome some of the barriers they face, these opportunities are not always accessible and inclusive. Although there is a breadth of literature on this topic, many studies utilize traditional quantitative and qualitative methods and do not take the authentic, individualized voices of these women into account. The present study integrates two arts-based, participatory methodologies-- Photovoice and Collage Inquiry-- in order to explore the following questions: (1) What are the experiences of women in STEM majors at a large, midwestern, research-intensive university? And (2) How do these women experience conducting and/or seeking research opportunities? Four themes emerged as a result of analyzing the triangulated data: (1) Lack of Equity in STEM, (2) Lack of Awareness of Opportunities, (3) Confidence in STEM abilities, and (4) Passion for STEM. While the first two themes encompass barriers that women in STEM face, the second two themes demonstrate strengths of women in STEM.



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