The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 38

Shannon R. Dean * Stephanie L. Dailey

assistants and how "being part of the LLC
helped me [in] being an RA" (Makala).
Many in the LLC also noted that the community enhanced their writing skills. Emily proudly
shared, "I couldn't write well. Now I can write a
paper within an hour. It's exhausting, but it's a
lot easier." Several students talked about how
their field required a unique style of academic
writing, which they were able to learn through
mentorships and tutoring in the LLC. For instance, William learned how to "write a proposal manuscript, how science writing works,
and how you can find additional research journals." This was essential for many participants
because "writing and communication skills are
essential for a scientist" (Hannah).

Personal challenges. Although the LLC fostered personal development in terms of supporting participants' connections with faculty,
transitions to college, involvement on campus,
and writing skills, it can sometimes detract
from students' personal development by
making them feel siloed in their experiences.
Ericka mentioned,
We are all pretty silo[ed]. We would interact
with the tutors, and that's about it. There
were some people that interacted more with
other members of cohorts, but I think they
just sort of knew each other . . . from their
hometown.
Participants rarely referenced extracurricular activities that were not affiliated with
science, even when prompted. If they worked
as residence hall assistants, they served the
LLC community. Although several students
in the LLC mentioned how the community
strengthened their writing skills, the LLC did
not seem to help develop such relational and

38

Students' Experiences in a STEM LLC

interpersonal skills as problem solving, collaboration, teamwork, and leadership, which students typically develop as part of cocurriculum
involvement activities.

. . . it is critical to not only help

DISCUSSION

challenge them to make friendships

This study adds to the literature about STEM
students by understanding how LLCs positively impact their academic, social, and personal lives, while also drawing attention to the
challenges associated with these communities.
Our findings demonstrate that an LLC is an
environment that simultaneously fosters and
inhibits the desired outcomes of both college
and the LLC experience. This study aligns with
much of the previous literature by acknowledging the positive gains students have from
living in these communities but also notes
some of the challenges of these homogenous
communities.

outside the community. Since

Environmental Influences

Most of the literature on LLCs highlights the
academic benefits for students (Garrett &
Zabriskie, 2004; Schussler & Fierros, 2008;
Stier, 2014), which are even more relevant and
necessary for those majoring in STEM fields
(Sriram & Shushok, 2010). This study confirmed that these students felt similarly about
the importance of providing space and time for
academic connections with faculty and other
students. Although the academic benefits
played a large role in their satisfaction with the
community, the social connections were also
extremely beneficial and frequently discussed.
For most of the students in our study, connecting with others through the LLC was perceived
as more important than the academic benefits
and most likely contributed to their retention.
Participants also spoke of the support received
as part of the LLC and how that support en-

According to Astin's (1993) theory of involvement, the outcomes students demonstrate
after college are directly related to the inputs
(pre-college experiences) and environment. Although we do not know much about the extensive experiences students have before coming
to our campuses, we do know that, as administrators and faculty in higher education, we can
impact the environment, which can dramatically influence students' experience and ultimately the outcomes associated with college.
In this study, we found that the LLC environment significantly impacted students and that
the LLC's faculty and students played a considerable role in shaping the environment for
these participants.	

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING

students establish relationships
inside their LLCs, but also to

many students change their major
to a non-STEM related field after
their first year, having established
relationships outside of the
community will help their transition
when they leave the LLC.

Benefits for STEM Students

couraged them to continue in their difficult
majors. Although different LLCs have different purposes, it is important to examine each
LLC to determine its goals and alignment. Is
the purpose friendship, community, academics, or all of the above? Making sure that the
goals are measurable will help each LLC to
determine if the community is leading to its
intended outcomes.
Participants also repeatedly noted their
sense of attachment within the residence hall
and the STEM field. The LLC provided a place
of connection for them; indeed, for most of
them, the LLC provided the most meaningful source of identity. Although a few were
involved in clubs, organizations, or other
things on campus, the living-learning community served as their main source of connection and friendship. The formal and informal
interactions were pivotal in helping them acclimate and feel a sense of belonging among
their peers and with faculty. This aligns with
the literature about the benefits of LLCs in
general, but also highlights the importance
of this for students in STEM fields (Lardner,
2014; Sriram & Shushok, 2010). Participants'
comments reveal that it is critical to not only
help students establish relationships inside
their LLCs, but also to challenge them to
make friendships outside the community.
Since many students change their major to a
non-STEM related field after their first year
(Change the Equation, 2015; U.S. Department
of Education, 2009), having established relationships outside of the community will help
their transition when they leave the LLC.
The most commonly found personal benefits of LLCs are often academic. The connection with faculty is obviously an important
V O L U M E 4 6 , NO. 2 * 2 0 2 0

39



The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - Intro
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - Cover1
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - Cover2
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 3
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 4
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 5
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 6
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 6A
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 8
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 9
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 10
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 11
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 12
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 13
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 14
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 15
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 16
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 17
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 18
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 19
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 20
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 21
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 22
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 23
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 24
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 25
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 26
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 27
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 28
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 29
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 30
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 31
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 32
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 33
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 34
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 35
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 36
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 37
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 38
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 39
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 40
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 41
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 42
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 43
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 44
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 45
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 46
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 47
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 48
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 49
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 50
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 51
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 52
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 53
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 54
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 55
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 56
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 57
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 58
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 59
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 60
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 61
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 62
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 63
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 64
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 65
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 66
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 67
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 68
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 69
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 70
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 71
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 72
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 73
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 74
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 75
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 76
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 77
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 78
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 79
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 80
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 81
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 82
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 83
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 84
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 85
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 86
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 87
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 88
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 89
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 90
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 91
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 92
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 93
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 94
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 95
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 96
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 97
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 98
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 99
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 100
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 101
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 102
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 103
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 104
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 105
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 106
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 107
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 108
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 109
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - 110
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - Cover3
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 2 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/acuho-i/acuho/journal_vol47no3
https://www.nxtbook.com/acuho-i/acuho/journal_vol47no2
https://www.nxtbook.com/acuho-i/acuho/journal_vol47no1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol46no2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol46no3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol46no1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol45no2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol45no3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol45no1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol44no3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol44no2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol44no1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol43no3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol43no2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol43no1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol42no2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol42no3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol41no2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/acuho/journal_vol40no2
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com