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We offer and test a brief psychosocial intervention, Speaking Truth to EmPower (STEP), designed to protect underrepresented minorities’ (URMs) intellectual performance and safety in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). STEP takes a ‘knowledge as power’ approach by: (a) providing a tutorial on stereotype threat (i.e., a social contextual phenomenon, implicated in underperformance and early exit) and (b) encouraging URMs to use lived experiences for generating be-prepared coping strategies. Participants were 670 STEM undergraduates [URMs (Black/African American and Latina/o) and non-URMs (White/European American and Asian/Asian American)]. STEP protected URMs’ abstract reasoning and class grades (adjusted for grade point average [GPA]) as well as decreased URMs’ worries about confirming ethnic/racial stereotypes. STEP’s two-pronged approach—explicating the effects of structural ‘isms’ while harnessing URMs’ existing assets—shows promise in increasing diversification and equity in STEM.


This article originally appeared in Education Sciences, available at DOI: 10.3390/educsci7020065

© 2017 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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