The authors contend that increasing diversity in academic medicine, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics requires the adoption of a systematic approach to retain minority high school and college students as they navigate the scientific pipeline. Such an approach should focus on the interrelated and multilayered challenges that these students face. The authors fuse an alternative conceptualization of the scientific and technical human capital theoretical framework and the theory of social identity contingencies to offer a conceptual model for targeting the critical areas in which minority students may need additional support to continue toward careers in science. Their proposed asset bundles model is grounded in the central premise that making greater progress in recruiting and retaining minorities likely requires institutions to respond simultaneously to various social cues that signal devaluation of certain identities (e.g., gender, race, socioeconomic status). The authors define "asset bundles" as the specific sets of abilities and resources individuals develop that help them succeed in educational and professional tasks, including but not limited to science and research. The model consists of five asset bundles, each of which is supported in the research literature as a factor relevant to educational achievement and, the authors contend, may lead to improved and sustained diversity: educational endowments, science socialization, network development, family expectations, and material resources. Using this framework, they suggest possible ways of thinking about the task of achieving diversity as well as guideposts for next steps. Finally, they discuss the feasibility of implementing such an approach.
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