STEM Research Study

Kenya Overton, as part of her doctoral journey, is working with a professor in the Neag School of Education at UConn who is conducting a study on STEM teacher turnover within Connecticut. They are seeking math or science teachers with at least 10 years of experience in the profession and self-identify as Black or African American.

With funding from the National Science Foundation,they are studying STEM teacher movement and attrition in Connecticut. From data gathered by the CT State Department of Education, they uncovered dramatic variation in science and math teacher movement based on individuals’ race and gender. However, that information is very limited and they can only speculate about the underlying stories that explain this phenomenon. Consequently, they wish to conduct interviews with science and math teachers who could share their perspectives with us.They are particularly interested to learn from Black teachers who have been in the profession for approximately ten years. The plan is as follows:

  • For those who agree to participate in this study, they will arrange for three interviews for which each participant will receive an average of $200 per session. The first interview will be an individual interview scheduled at a time convenient to the participant in early 2024. This interview will be approximately 75 minutes in duration and could take place either in-person or virtually. The second interview would involve three to four STEM teachers in a focus group and will require about 90 minutes. Once again, depending on participant preferences, the focus group could be in-person or virtual. This would be scheduled in late spring. The third and final interview would take place during summer and would be individually scheduled. We anticipate this interview would require 75 minutes.
  • The goal for this study is to identify factors supportive of math and science teachers remaining in the teaching profession. They anticipate uncovering a range of personal, workplace, and institutional variables that contradict the common sad stories of teachers leaving their schools or departing the career. Knowing what traits, characteristics, and systems that promote math and science teacher retention would inform discussions about diversifying the STEM teaching profession and also enlighten schools and universities about approaches that could remedy long-standing shortages of math and science teachers.

If you are or know of any Black math or science teachers who might be interested in participating, I encourage you to pass this message along to them. Interested persons can email Kenya Overton at or Dr. John Settlage at to provide their contact information. They will then follow-up with additional information about the study so they can make an informed decision about participating. 

Your assistance with promoting this study to potential participants is greatly appreciated. The challenges of diversifying the teaching workforce must attend to retention as much as to enticing new entrants into the profession. Your support assist in capturing the realities of STEM teacher turnover which will in turn inform practice and policy.