Role Models or DefinersRollemodeller eller definatorer
The Danish government has an ambition to recruit more high school students into STEM edu-cations (science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics). The students’ choice of further education is based on the people and jobs they have knowledge of. Therefore, to recruit more students into STEM studies, it is important to introduce high school students to good STEM representatives to make possible the development of potential STEM identities. A potential identity within a specific subject area relies on at least a situation bound relation-ship to the subject area or the person representing it. Some representatives transmit infor-mation and are thereby definers, whereas other representatives illustrates as personal examples and are thereby models. This study focuses on high school students’ views on STEM representatives and the impact these representatives have on the high school students’ potential identities. It shows that the students preferred STEM representatives resembled themselves in some aspects (primarily social and health aspects) and fit their perceptions of a typical person working in STEM in other aspects (knowledge seeking, hard-working etc.). At least two different representative roles (the definers and the models) can influence the stu-dents’ potential identities. It is, however, likely that most representatives are not pure definers or models and they will probably also be perceived differently by different students. Some representatives will not affect one student’s potential identity, others will do so only after prolonged contact, while others again will be able to influence the students potential identity and thus educational choices after just a brief meeting.
Enrolment in STEM studies; potential identities; role models; definers