VETWAYS has just released a third research brief.
Undergraduate student service members and veterans have the technical and leadership skills to excel in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, which in turn could grow and diversify the STEM workforce and provide greater career mobility for these talented students. They graduate with STEM 4-year degrees at about half the rate of traditional students, however. Past research has underlined the importance of social support among veterans and other students in STEM, but no research has looked at this issue in detail.
Based on survey and interview data collected during our study’s first phase, this new report describes the core “social support networks”–or people that provide camaraderie, guidance, feedback, and other assistance–that surround student service members and veterans in STEM majors across five Wisconsin universities. Findings show strong student ties to family and friends, military-affiliated contacts, and significant others. Students also describe the importance of bridging perspectives and role-based contacts that help them access information, help on academic tasks and decisions, and emotional support.