Lived Experiences and Perceptions on Mentoring Among Latina Scientists and Engineers Open Access
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to reveal the lived mentoring experiences of Latinas in science and engineering. The study also sought to understand how Latina scientists and engineers achieved high-level positions within their organizations and the impediments they encountered along their professional journey. The theoretical framework for this study sought a transcendental phenomenological view with an interpretive perspective that is an interpretive paradigm. Utilizing a phenomenological approach, rich descriptive data were collected to obtain a better understanding of how the study participants achieved successful careers and whether mentoring was a contributing factor. Eight Latinas scientists and engineers were obtained using a purposeful participant selection method.In-depth interviews, coding, analysis, and careful interpretation resulted in eight major themes. These particular themes revealed common traits and characteristics that these participants shared that made them successful: (a) Trailblazer; (b) Passion and Belief; (c) Support and Encouragement; (d) Networking; (e) Goal-Oriented; (f) Mentoring Type (Grooming, Networking, and E-mentoring); (g) Criticality of Mentoring; and (h) Luck and Opportunities. These eight themes contributed to the participants' professional development and success.The results revealed that (a) it is important to have multiple mentors at all levels; (b) various types of mentoring can be equally effective; (c) mentoring can be critical to an individual's success; (d) the support and encouragement of mentors is essential, both personally and professionally; and (e) mentoring relationships should not be forced, that they should be a mutual agreement in which both the mentor and the mentee willingly and enthusiastically participate. The findings suggest that implementing mentoring programs would have positive implications on the Latina population and that this may encourage them to pursue careers in science and engineering.Recommendations for this study focused on establishing and formalizing mentoring programs, attracting more Latinas to careers in science and engineering, and the need for further research. This study has implications for the future development of mentoring programs for Latinas in science and engineering.