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Theories of Change: Observing Structural Barriers for URM Students in Science & Medicine ♥★

February 17 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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Work-in-Progress Series

Rena Goldstein, Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophy

Theories of Change: 
Observing Structural Barriers for URM Students in Science & Medicine

STEM fields at UCI, including fields like chemistry and physics that feed directly into medical fields, have struggled to maintain adequate representation of underrepresented minority groups. Minority groups, including women, AAPI, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian, and Black/African American, are underrepresented at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty level. The lack of representation poses an existential risk to future medical professionals of color as some chemistry and physics majors later pursue medicine. Thus, barriers in the School of Physical Sciences have the potential to translate directly to barriers to entry into the medical and related professions. The lack of diversity in the medical field needs to be addressed. Studies show that health outcomes for communities most in need improve when people are treated by those within their same communities. Having a medical professional from one’s own community may help when confirming or disconfirming evidence in favor of a medical conclusion.

Institutional barriers to career advancement can be the product of ingrained cultural norms within an organization. Some theorists suggest looking at structural patterns and assumptions throughout various parts of the organizational structure. To uncover behaviors and bring about a normative shift in an institution, Goldstein began designing a mixed quantitative and qualitative study. The study will assess how students’ racial or gender identity could impact the way one is treated. The aim is to evaluate interpersonal relationships between students and faculty and to compile data on the current racial and gender structural patterns within the school as well.

In this talk, Goldstein will discuss some theories to change structural barriers and progress on her current study.

Rena Beatrice Goldstein is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. Rena holds an M.A. in education and philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles. Her research focuses in the field of social and applied epistemology, with an emphasis on 20th-century analytic philosophy, virtue epistemology and the philosophy of education. Her work has appeared in the journals Educational Theory, and Pre-college Philosophy and Public Practice, and in an edited volume published by Routledge. Goldstein has taught courses in writing, introduction to philosophy, and critical thinking at community colleges and Cal State schools in the Los Angeles area. In 2019, Goldstein was the recipient of the Kavka Endowed Prize for excellent scholarship, and she was recently awarded the 2020-2021 Svetlana Bershadsky Graduate Student Community Award for her commitment to improving graduate student life at UCI.


Date: Thursday, February 17th, 2022
Time: 4-5PM PT

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