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STEM, STEM Education, gap, black males, motivation, demographics, gifted, gifted and talented


This study was an exploration of the factors that motivated gifted and talented Black males to engage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The specific problem addressed was the lack of motivation among Black males to become gifted and talented learners engaged in STEM. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the factors that motivate gifted and talented Black males to engage in STEM at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), a residential academy for gifted/talented students. Qualitative methodology was used to interview focus groups of 20 gifted and talented Black males who currently attended IMSA as well as interviews with 25 gifted and talented Black male IMSA alumni, 21 parents of IMSA Black male students/alumni, and 27 IMSA faculty/staff. Utilizing triangulation analysis, patterns and trends of factors emerged that motivate gifted and talented Black males from the perspectives of the students themselves, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, along with literature on motivation. The trends that developed as a result of this triangulated analysis were IMSA, obligation to Black community, success, learning, being good at STEM, STEM passion, competition, STEM exposure, and self-motivation. The factors that motivate gifted and talented Black males that were new and contributed to the literature on Black male STEM motivation were the ability to solve problems, to advance humanity, being challenged, and be actively involved in leadership. Future studies should specifically question why a Black male STEM gap exists and how to engage more Black males in STEM.



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