Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


King, Stephanie B.

Committee Member

Cutler-White, Carol

Committee Member

Coats, Linda T.

Committee Member

Oswalt, Katie

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 2 years

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


The workforce in society today has rapidly growing fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Females are largely underrepresented in these fields in colleges and also careers. Previous research cites multiple reasons that could cause this disparity between the genders, and this study adds to that. Females in their developmental years are equal to or outperform males in STEM fields in school, and the number of females who are beginning to choose these areas in college is on the rise. This study sought to determine if females choose colleges and careers based on their family’s emotional or financial influence. Utilizing data from the United States Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES) High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 with a follow-up study in 2012, answers to the research questions were sought. Analysis using t-tests determined that while a family’s financial situation does have an effect on college choice, females are supported by their families as they choose math and science fields of study. Future research could seek to determine more specifically why females continue to choose careers in fields of education and healthcare to provide community colleges better information to help direct females into the expanding fields of STEM.