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Abstract

This qualitative study uses narrative methodology to understand what becoming a scientist or engineer entails for women stereotyped as “model minorities.” Interviews with four Chinese and Japanese women focused on the social contexts in which science is encountered in classrooms, families, and community. Interpretation was guided by theories that individuals construct personal narratives mediated by cultural symbolic systems to make meaning of experiences. Narratives revealed that Confucian cultural scripts shaped gender expectations even in families several generations in America. Regardless of parents' level of education, country of birth, and number of children, educational expectations, and resources were lower for daughters. Parents expected daughters to be compliant, feminine, and educated enough to be marriageable. Findings suggest K–12 gender equity science practices encouraged development of the women's interests and abilities but did not affect parental beliefs. The author's 1999 study of Hawaiians/Pacific Islander and Filipina female engineers is included in implications for teacher education programs sensitive to gender, culture, ethnicity, and language. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals Inc. J Res Sci Teach 39: 302–323, 2002