This study aimed to examine the impact of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1973; Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977) on the access and equity of C-STEM learners of color under the following four tenets of Yosso’s (2005) Community Cultural Wealth model: aspirational, familial, social, and navigational capital. A theoretical framework of Critical Race Theory (CRT; Crenshaw, 1988) was utilized to frame the study. Research questions explore the impacts of cultural capital upon the perceived access and equity of female C-STEM learners. Qualitative methodology guided the study under the integrated approach of Quantitative Ethnography (QE) which examines qualitative data with the support of statistical analysis. This was done utilizing the Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA) webtool. Discourse analysis provided the researcher with a lens through which data from participants’ interview responses were analyzed. As a retrospective study, the researcher sought to explore the impact of participants’ cultural background on their educational and career trajectories in C-STEM. Participants consisted of fifteen women of color who self-identified is Black/African American, Hispanic/Latina, and Korean-American with degrees in computer science and closely related C-STEM fields. Interviews were conducted via Zoom from March 2023-July 2023. Each interview lasted for approximately 60 minutes. Data was transcribed and analyzed by three coders (including the researcher) as a form of interrater reliability. Initial codes for the study were as follows: access, equity, aspirational capital, familial capital, social capital, and navigational capital. Emergent codes of cultural, financial, and spiritual resources emerged from the data. Key findings indicate a positive relationship between the connection of access to aspirational, familial, social, and navigational capital. Strong connections were also identified with the emergent codes of cultural and financial support. The findings indicate that the female C-STEM learners of color in the study found encouragement in their journeys, were able to navigate various structures, and had the ability to thrive in community as a result of access to financial & cultural resources. Furthermore, the findings indicate the success that results from positive community networks for learners of color. Implications for future research explore developmental opportunities for organizational change in C-STEM learners from an assets-based lens.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Equity; Women in science; Women in technology; Women in engineering; Women in mathematics; Minority women

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Martine Jago

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