STEM TIG WEEK: Decreasing Intersectional Barriers in Youth Interventions by Shetay Ashford-Hanserd and Kathy Haynie

Hi, we are Shetay Ashford-Hanserd and Kathy Haynie, and we had a panel discussion at AEA 2019 entitled, “Intersectionality, Equity, and Evaluation: Decreasing Intersectional Barriers in NSF-Funded Youth Interventions”. In our discussion, we shared our experiences with three projects addressing equity issues faced by Black and Latino youth pursuing STEM degrees, Indigenous youth engaged in STEM education, and Black young women entering computer science study.  Each program has distinct intervention and evaluation strategies developed to capture the intervention’s success given the set of barriers experienced by participants. 

Shetay Ashford-Hanserd and Rosio Pedroso discussed how ACCEYSS (Association of Collaborative Communities Equipping Youth for STEM Success) is engaging with a myriad of organizations to collectively impact Black and Latino youth in attaining STEM degrees.  Nichole Bowman discussed culturally responsive STEM evaluation within and across Tribal/First Nations communities. Kathy Haynie and Martha Escobar shared culturally responsive teaching approaches utilized for the LEGACY project which prepares black young women from Alabama for AP CS Principles. We invite you to join this imperative conversation.

Hot Tip: Use an intersectionality framework that involves not only unique circumstances and identity, but also possible discrimination/isms/attitudes that impact identity and social and cultural structures that reinforce exclusion. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, intersectionality is defined as “the complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect.”

Where possible, structure learning environments where students from one intersectional category can experience themselves as a majority. For example, young black girls may face the same challenges as other people of color, other young people, and other females. However, the challenges they encounter as young black women are unique to the intersection of their age, race, and gender. The opportunity to get to know, for example, many other young black women can be incredibly affirming of their emerging identities. 

Lesson Learned: 

  • Multiple sources of inequity have an interactive effect, which allows for more adequate research and evaluation designs that view participants holistically.
  • Ignoring intersectionality when conducting an evaluation can gloss over unique challenges to equity experienced at the intersection of a person’s circumstances.

Rad Resources:


The American Evaluation Association is celebrating STEM Education and Training TIG Week with our colleagues in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education and Training Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our STEM Education and Training TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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