Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


Africana Studies


Anne H. Charity Hudley

Committee Members

John P. Swaddle

Hermine Pinson

Joanne M. Braxton

Francis Tanglao-Aguas


When applying to The College of William and Mary, students indicate what their intended major will be. However, Black students interested in majoring in the sciences at the start of College will more than likely not do so in the end. Since most students cannot declare a major until their sophomore year, the lack of retention of intended science majors has been almost impossible to trace. This study will examine what happens during those intro science classes that causes some Black students to change their major, while allowing room for those who simply decide that science is not for them. It will also examine the critical factors that allow other Black students to persist in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) majors at The College of William and Mary. These factors will be compared and contrasted with those at other Liberal Arts institutions that have a legacy of producing Black STEM majors. A clear explanation of the historical basis for educational inequities that impact Black people is also included in this study as it is necessary to implement sustainable programs that will increase the retention and the graduation rate of Black STEM majors at The College of William and Mary. Restorative justice will be used as a model for authentic change in my final recommendations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only