Publication Date

Fall 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Megumi Hosoda

Subject Areas



The purpose of the present study was to examine the role of gender on the relationships between the predictor variables (i.e., sense of belonging, grit, and support systems) and academic engagement and commitment to major among science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students. Specifically, this study proposed that gender would act as a moderator of these relationships such that the relationships between the predictor variables and the outcome variables would be stronger for women than for men in STEM. A total of 254 undergraduates from a university in Northern California participated in an in-person survey. Although results did not show that gender was a moderator of these relationships, it showed a tendency to moderate the relationship between parental support and academic engagement such that men who experienced greater levels of support from parents/guardians were more likely to experience academic engagement. Furthermore, it was found that sense of belonging, grit, and certain types of support were contributors to academic engagement and commitment to one’s major. Based on these findings, it is suggested that academic institutions allocate resources to facilitate belongingness and foster a supportive environment for students. As the demand for STEM workers continues to grow, it would be beneficial to conduct further research in order to look for ways to combat the leaky pipeline and chilly climate that minorities, such as women, face in STEM.