Our project started in May 2020 and by November, the team conducted interviews with 110 students STEMM students from underrepresented groups at Imperial and the University of Reading to explore their lived experiences, including suggestions on how university can support underrepresented students. We are currently completing the data analysis, using NVivo 12 to code transcripts around key themes (e.g., sense of belonging, disciplinary and professional identities). Intersectional analysis is also applied, where we consider the multiple intersecting structural positions of students, including gender, ethnicity, socio-economic/class background, sexuality, and disability status. Our student participants study the following STEMM degrees – biology, medicine, engineering, physics, computer science, and mathematics. Based on the data analysis so far, we have identified some key areas of focus for pedagogical implementation and impact:

  • the transition from school to university can be very challenging for students from underrepresented groups, for example, lack of visible role models or other students in their cohort from their background, alongside students going from the top of their class in school to the competitive high-achieving environment of Imperial where they may achieve average or below average grades for the first time.
  • some students who are part of multiple ‘underrepresented’ groups seem to feel less of a sense of belonging, leading to negative impact on their experience and achievements.
  • the devolved nature of Imperial’s organisation means that it can be challenging to share ‘good practice’ in supporting underrepresented students across departments without coordination.

Project presentations and publications

Project presentations and publications

Murray, Ó.M., Chiu, Y.L.T., Wong, B. and Horsburgh, J. (2022). Deindividualising imposter syndrome: imposter work amongst marginalised STEMM undergraduates in the UK. Sociology. DOI: 10.1177/00380385221117380

Wong, B., Chiu, Y.L.T., Murray, Ó.M. and Horsburgh, J. (2022). End of the road? The career intentions of under-represented STEM students in higher educationInternational journal of STEM education9(1), pp.1-12. Read our blogpost here

Wong, B., Chiu, Y.L.T., Murray, Ó.M., Horsburgh, J. and Copsey-Blake, M. (2022). ‘Biology is easy, physics is hard’: student perceptions of the ideal and the typical student across STEM higher education. International Studies in Sociology of Education. Read our blogpost here.

Murray, O.M., Chiu, Y.L.T., and Horsburgh, J. (2022). Is belonging always positive? Cultivating alternative belonging at university. Festival of Learning and Teaching, Imperial College London, UK. 17 May, 2022. Presentation slides can be found here. You can also watch the recording here.

Chiu, Y.L.T. & Murray, O.M., (2022). ‘The SIDUS project’. Research project presented in CHERSNet seminar. 2 March, 2022, Imperial College London, UK. Presentation slides can be found here.

Chiu, Y.L.T., Murray, O.M., Zukowska, K. and Coispeau, M. (2021). ‘Promoting inclusion, diversity and success for STEMM students through authentic student stories and evidence-based resources’. Research presented at Talking Teaching Series. 8 December 2021, Imperial College London, UK. You can also watch the recording here.

Chiu, Y.L.T. and Murray, O.M. (2021). ‘I don’t belong here’: Underrepresented students and their ‘imposter syndrome’ in higher education’. Research presented at Imperial Education Week Conference. 7 June, 2021, Imperial College London, UK. Presentation slides can be found here. You can also watch the recording here.

Murray, O.M., Chiu, Y.L.T., Horsburgh, J. and Wong, B. (2021). ‘Student Imposters in STEMM: Institutional Passing and Undergraduate Belonging in UK Universities’. Paper presented at the BSA Annual Conference: Remaking the Future. 14 April, 2021. You can watch the recording here