Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Psychology, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Gloria González-Morales

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Michelle Bligh

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Cindi Gilliland

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Cecelia Corson


Authentic belonging, Gender, Inclusion, Job crafting, Qualitative study

Subject Categories



As of 2022, the total number of Nobel Prizes granted in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields was roughly 614 and of those, only 24 have been awarded to women. STEM fields have historically excluded women at all levels with increasing impact at the higher levels of the career ladder (NSF, 2010). To address the stark gender gap in many organizational spaces including STEM, organizations have turned to diversity training with undetermined effectiveness (Devine & Ash, 2022). This dissertation research seeks to understand women’s authentic belonging in STEM fields and to develop an intervention to aid men in including women in these spaces, removing the burden of inclusion off women. Through the first qualitative study, I uncovered the similarities around the three primary ways that both men and women conceptualized authentic belonging in these spaces – through feeling heard and contributing, through representation, and through feeling safe to take risks. I also identified differences in the ways the men and women conceptualized authentic belonging, such as women’s stronger leadership orientation, greater pull toward connection, and more negative mindsets around their inclusion in STEM spaces, and men’s strong orientation toward merit and performance and more positive mindsets about women’s authentic belonging in STEM fields. Through the second qualitative study, I uncovered the impact that leaders had on women’s experiences of belonging, the specific ways that connecting with others led to women’s experiences of belonging, and the behaviors that led to women’s experiences of belonging. Taking the results of the two studies together, I developed a Job Crafting for Inclusion Activity, answering the call for more behavior-based, long-term interventions around inclusion that can serve to facilitate women’s authentic belonging in STEM.



Included in

Psychology Commons