Application and implications of asset bundle theory on the development of successful underrepresented scientists
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The objective of this dissertation is to explore the development strategies of successful underrepresented scientists in biomedical and health disciplines, with a specific focus on their acquisition and use of social capital and science capital. Exploring the experiences of successful scientists, as evidenced by their receipt of one of the most prestigious research awards, the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) pre-doctoral fellowship, this dissertation provides a useful platform to unearth how these scientists developed and progressed through the scientific academic pipeline. Three manuscripts motivated by asset bundle theory were developed to pursue this objective. The asset bundle theory argues that scientific capital, social capital and economic capital are all necessary requisites for the fluid movement of a scientist through the academic pipeline. Using survey data collected from 505 recipients NRSA, the first manuscript examines social capital transfers to successful underrepresented scientists; it argues that social capital theory applications in the literature has undervalued the cultural and social resources important to the development of underrepresented scientists. The second manuscript explores the experiences of underrepresented scientists and suggests a focus on the ways in which cultural experiences and identities of underrepresented groups are relevant to their success. The final manuscript demonstrates that asset bundle theory, when applied to the use and development of science capital, underscores the need to better explore the institutional conditions in which scientists develop. The paper empirically explores the correlation between endowments of science assets and the potential for economic outcomes, finding little correlation between the two for underrepresented scientists.
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