Where am I in STEM?

Critiquing STEM Through Lived Experience as a Science Education Researcher


  • Sarah Riggs Stapleton University of Oregon




science education, gender, social justice, feminist, power


This critique of STEM comes from a feminist, embodied approach, which takes into account how my positionality in relation to the acronym intersects with my lived experience and perspective. My hope is that speaking from personal experience will help initiate fissures and dissonance about STEM discourse, in chorus with other positions and arguments, to critically question and hopefully dislodge the STEM acronym as a hegemonic, pervasive, and unexamined construct. I offer my experiences as a way of joining others in open critique of an often unquestioned yet neoliberal dominating force in science education. My lived experiences (and frustrations) with STEM are numerous. I condense these experiences into four episodes: the STEM academic job interview, the STEM education meeting, dissonance between STEM and my gendered identity, and exclusion of my humanist science research interests by the STEM acronym.

Author Biography

Sarah Riggs Stapleton, University of Oregon

Sarah Stapleton is an Assistant Professor in Education Studies at the University of Oregon’s College of Education. Her research employs participatory methodologies to explore critical science and environmental education contexts. Her areas of research and teaching include food and schools, education for climate justice and activism, and environmental justice.






(Re)Considering STEM Education