|dc.description.abstract||In order for the United States to compete globally with other countries, it is vital that the United States diversify and increase the number of information communications technology professionals (ICT) if it is to remain internationally competitive. Therefore, the underrepresentation of various minority groups in ICT fields has developed into an issue of great concern for policy makers and as a result policy makers have urged researchers to search for plausible solutions to increase the number of ICT professionals. Upon investigation, researchers have discovered that African American women represent a population that can help increase the number of ICT professionals as well as diversify the field. However, research examining African American females in ICT education and careers is scarce. Therefore, the two studies enclosed in this dissertation are designed to examine the factors that influence African American females’ decision to pursue both postsecondary and secondary education. As such, the first study enclosed in this dissertation is a qualitative study that examined the pre-college and college experiences of African American females who were pursuing an ICT major. The second study enclosed is a mixed methods study that examined the social factors that predict ICT course enrollment for African American females at the secondary educational level.
As a result of the phenomenological qualitative techniques implemented in study 1, the researcher concluded that the following pre-college experiences were influential in the participants’ decision to pursue an ICT degree: (a) high school academic achievement, (b) the influence of family, and (c) ability to embrace challenges. In addition, the following experiences were influential in the participants’ perseverance as ICT majors: (a) desire to become a role model, (b) acknowledging vulnerabilities (c) resilience, and (d) racial identity awareness. As a result of the quantitative and qualitative techniques used in study 2, findings indicated that technology use and interest was the primary predictor of ICT course enrollment.||