Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award

Spring 4-14-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Natalie S. King, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Patrick Enderle, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Terrell Morton, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Camea Davis, Ph.D.

Fifth Advisor

Christopher C. Jett, Ph.D.


In this study, the experiences of five early-career science teachers were examined as they transitioned from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions into education. The early-career science teachers’ journeys were revealed through a teacher preparation program and engagement in professional learning as participants in a fellowship program. This study involved a deep delve into their K–12 experiences, how they were recruited into teaching, reflections on their preparation, and how they navigated the first two years of teaching. Utilizing narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) and narrative analysis (Riessman, 1993), the voices of these early-career Black and Brown teachers were elevated. The conceptual framework that informed this study included Love’s (2019) abolitionist teaching and Nouri and Sajjadi’s (2014) emancipatory pedagogies. Data sources included semi-structured interviews and artifacts in the form of course materials, lesson plans, and assignments. The following themes emerged: (a) the participants were inspired to pursue science teaching to increase representation and serve as models or extended family members for Black and Brown children to realize their potential; (b) critical readings, reflections, and exposure to abolitionist teaching and emancipatory pedagogies in the methods course sequence prepared the early-career teachers to humanize the instruction and affirm the identities of Black and Brown children; and (c) the fellowship program served as a vehicle to attract and retain early-career science teachers by providing financial support, customized professional development, and a community of peers and faculty. The implications of this study are that it is important to offer teacher preparation and fellowship programs that can equip pre-service and early-career teachers with the necessary knowledge, resources, and support to enable them to firmly oppose oppressive structures in their schools and communities.


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