The purpose of this manuscript is to highlight the role of tangible objects (i.e., rings) in understanding individual’s STEM identity, which in this study is defined as an interdisciplinary belief that an individual has about her or himself regarding science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The rings allowed participants to position themselves within STEM disciplines and to further illustrate and narrate this position through the various ring sizes, and for some, the spatial arrangement of the rings. However, the use of the rings seemed to limit participants to describing who they are within STEM in the moment, as well as not providing an opportunity to illustrate how micro- and macro-level external forces shaped their identity.


Identity, Narrative Inquiry, STEM, Tangible Objects

Author Bio(s)

Amber Simpson is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY. Her main topic of concern is the low number of individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups entering and persisting in pathways toward STEM careers. She conducts research on understanding the interplay of voices shaping and embodying individual’s STEM identity, as well understanding the role of making in formal and informal educational settings. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: asimpson@binghamton.edu.


I would like to thank my dissertation committee at Clemson University, Dr. Megan Che, Dr. Cassie Quigley, Dr. Nicole Bannister, Dr. Diane Perpich, and Dr. William Bridges. I would also like to thank Dr. Adam Maltese at Indiana University for his guidance and support in my research on STEM identity.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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