Graduate STEM-Based Agriculture Education and Women Agriculturalists: An Agency Perspective


  • Matthew M. Mars The University of Arizona
  • Jeni Hart University of Missouri



graduate STEM-based agriculture education, human agency, gendered organizations


In this paper, we explored the academic and professional aspirations, experiences, and perspectives of 11 women pursuing graduate degrees based in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields within research-intensive agriculture colleges at three land grant research universities in the United States (U.S.). Using principles drawn from the theories of human agency (Bandura, 1989, 2001; Emirbayer & Mische, 1998; Locke, 1978; Lukes, 1973; Sewell, 1992; Terosky, Campbell, & O’Meara, 2014) and gendered organizations (Acker, 1990, 2012) as our conceptual guide, we explored the conditions and contexts that influence the academic experiences and professional trajectories of emergent women agriculturalists who are enrolled in STEM-based graduate programs. We were particularly attentive to how such experiences and trajectories aligned with agricultural environments that have been shown to be masculine (i.e., large-scale farming and agribusiness, STEM-based agricultural research, Extension). The study developed a deeper understanding of the institutionalized conditions that influence the participation and leadership of women in solving the agricultural problems that confront society and the human condition. Implications for graduate STEM-based agriculture education are discussed and recommendations for both practice and future research are proposed.


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How to Cite

Mars, M. M., & Hart, J. (2017). Graduate STEM-Based Agriculture Education and Women Agriculturalists: An Agency Perspective. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(3), 256–274.