Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States, with 18.5 percent of the nation’s population. However, when it comes to Latinos in STEM, they represent only 8 percent of all STEM workers. This disparity can be largely traced to disproportionally low numbers in graduation rates in high school and college, in conjunction with the lack of exposure to STEM fields and access to rigorous K-12 curriculums associated with STEM pathways. The survey incorporated into this research investigates which factors influence Latinos in choosing a STEM major. The survey questions focused on high school academics, parental educational attainment, home support and previous perceptions about mathematics and sciences. The results were analyzed by comparing the Latino demographic to the White demographic. The data gathered contributes to the research found that high school performance is a strong indicator for going into a STEM field given that the average GPA of both groups were very high. There was a difference of five points when it came to the average ACT score. The results showed a significant difference in parental education between both groups. Most notably, contrary to research, most Latinos had access to AP or advance courses in high school. Every student who had access to advanced courses enrolled in them. To further bring awareness of the issues at hand and to further stimulate the discussion of this topic an open-access website was created to provide access and awareness to the data gathered.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2021


Abbey Poffenberger

Mentor Department Affiliation

Languages, Cultures, and Humanities

Mentor Professional Affiliation

, Chair, Department of Languages & Culture Studies, Anthropology and Sociology

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Language and Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Languages, Cultures, and Humanities

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)