Submitting Campus

Daytona Beach


Aeronautical Science

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date



Higher education, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, benefit our society and economic growth. However, overcoming gender disparity and increasing the retention of underrepresented minorities within these programs is challenging. Mental health across higher education has shown to be on the rise, and when it comes to the mental health needs of aviation students, research shows that underrepresented minorities experience unique challenges in achieving academic success. This paper focused on identifying aviation minority students' unique challenges in a small STEM university. This mixed-methods action research study collected quantitative data using an adapted version of the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms-62 (CCAPS-62) and qualitative in-person focus groups. Essential elements evaluated were social support, psychological distress, and psychological well-being needed to thrive in the academic environment. The findings provide educational leaders with research-based strategies to meet the needs of underrepresented minority students and increase their retention in aviation education.

Publication Title

Collegiate Aviation Review Inter


University Aviation Association

Additional Information

This research was partially supported by the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Faculty Research Development Program, the Office of Undergraduate Research, and the Undergraduate Research Institute. Also, special thanks to the University Aviation Association (UAA) committee for accepting our proposal for an educational session and inviting us to publish the conference proceeding.