Women in STEM (Summarizing, Tweeted, Experiences, Messages)

Student Classification

Connie Miller, 4th-Year, Sociology, Psychology Nadia James, 4th-Year, Psychology Zhani Shalee, 3rd-Year, Sociology Forney, 1st-Year PhD, JPhD Program of Social Work at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Stephanie Teixeira-Poit


Department of Social Work and Sociology

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023


Although there have been improvements in access and acceptance in the physical sciences and mathematical sciences, women still have limited access to education and careers in STEM. According to the National Science Board (2001), “women make up 47% of the current workforce but only 28% of the current science and engineering workforce. Of this percentage, women of color comprise about 5%.” In this study, we explore themes in online messaging about STEM. We mined the Twitter API for all messages using the keywords “STEM education”, “STEM careers”, and “onboarding in STEM”. Our analytic technique used DiscoverText which involved an interactive process using both humans and machines to code emerging themes in the data. In this paper, we analyzed the most tweeted messages in February 2023. Results showed several of the top retweeted messages followed a similar pattern with the STEM acronym being replaced with words or phrases that started with S-T-E-M. The most commonly retweeted message was “women in STEM (sorrow, torment, excruciating pain, misery).” Some referenced Taylor Swift songs. For example, “women in STEM (snow globe, take her to the moon, easy to hate, magnetic)” and “women in STEM (speak now, taylor swift, evermore, midnights).” We analyzed the referenced song lyrics which alluded to the experiences and feelings of women in STEM. We review the academic literature to provide a comprehensive understanding of strategies for addressing the negative experiences of women and support recommendations to increase the participation of women in STEM.

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