METHODS FOR RETENTION OF UNDERGRADUATE WOMEN IN SCIENCE MAJORS
The factors that interviewed students listed as most important in improved retention were presence of female faculty, mentorship, research opportunities, re-education of older women returning to school, cooperative rather than competitive learning environments, demonstrated appreciation for womens participation in science, and emphasis on programs to build pre-college mathematical skills. The surveys showed that some participants have negative biases concerning womens abilities in science, which they believe were instilled by our educational system. Surveyed students indicated that womens contributions were rarely, if ever, discussed in science classes.
Institutions can begin to improve retention of female undergraduate majors with simple changes, such as specific citation of womens achievements in science and inclusion of female invited speakers. Significant impact on retention, however, will require an increase in undergraduate research opportunities for women, the hiring of more female faculty, mentorship, a change to pedagogical techniques, and the encouragement of interdisciplinary discourse.