Chrystal Smith


I am a cultural anthropologist with expertise in two major fields 1) education anthropology with a specialization in STEM higher education research, and 2) medical anthropology with a focus on the chronic disease health disparities. My research in STEM higher education uses anthropological and sociological theories and methodologies to broaden our understanding about the challenges that women, ethnic minorities, and other underrepresented groups encounter pursuing STEM degrees and working in STEM higher education. I am the Co-PI/Program Manager/Qualitative Lead of the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, The Effects of Social Capital and Cultural Models on the Retention and Degree Attainment of Women and Minority Engineering Undergraduates (#1432297; $1,499,982). My research in medical anthropology focuses on the study of type 2 diabetes risk and self-management among Latino and Caribbean immigrants as well as other marginalized groups.

Field Area

United States


ANTH1000W. Other People’s World


Book Chapters
Smith, C. A. S. (2014). Assessing Academic Women’s Sense of Isolation in the STEM Disciplines. In P. J. Gilmer, B. Tansel, & M. Hughes Miller (Eds.), Alliances for advancing academic women: Guidelines for collaboration in STEM fields (pp 97-113). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Smith, C. A. S. & Thomas, S. (2014). Learning through Collaboration: Lessons from AAFAWCE, a NSF ADVANCE-PAID Grant. In P. J. Gilmer, B. Tansel, & M. Hughes Miller (Eds.), Alliances for advancing academic women: Guidelines for collaboration in STEM fields (pp. 193-204 ). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Tyson, W., Smith, C. A. S., & Nguema Ndong, A. (2010). To Stay or to Switch? Why Students Leave Engineering Programs. In K. M. Borman, W. Tyson, & R. H. Halperin (Eds.), Becoming an Engineer in Public Universities (pp. 53-80). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


Smith, C. A. S. (2016). Community Colleges as a Pathway for Low Income Women to Enter the Engineering Technology Workforce. In S. N. Davis Gender (In)equality: Stalled Revolutions and Shifting Terrains in the 21st Century, University of California Press.


Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles
Wao, H. O., Lee, R. S., Ochieng, J., Owuor Odondi, G., Akathm T., & Smith, C. A. S. (2015). Predicting Degree Attainment in Engineering and Biological/Life Sciences: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering 21(4):347-362.

Smith, C. A. S., Wao, H., Martin, J. P., MacDonald, G. & Lee, R. (2015). Designing a Survey for Engineering Undergraduates using Free Listing – An Anthropological Structured Technique. ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings. Washington D.C.

Smith, C. A. S. (2012). Living with Sugar: Influence of Cultural Beliefs on Type 2 Diabetes Self-Management of English-Speaking Women. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 14:640-647.