The Effects of a Female Role Model on Academic Performance and Persistence of Women in STEM Courses

Sarah D. Herrmann, Robert Mark Adelman, Jessica E. Bodford, Oliver Graudejus, Morris A. Okun, Sau Kwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Women are more likely to leave science, technology, engineering, and mathematics compared to men, in part because they lack similar role models such as peers, teaching assistants, and instructors. We examined the effect of a brief, scalable online intervention that consisted of a letter from a female role model who normalized concerns about belonging, presented time spent on academics as an investment, and exemplified overcoming challenges on academic performance and persistence. The intervention was implemented in introductory psychology (Study 1, N = 258) and chemistry (Study 2, N = 68) courses. Relative to the control group, the intervention group had higher grades and lower failing and withdrawal rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - Aug 19 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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