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Becoming in Action: An Autoethnography of My Professional Identity Development as an Aspiring Engineering Education Faculty Member

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Student Division Technical Session 4

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Kayla R. Maxey Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16

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Kayla is a doctoral student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research interest includes the influence of informal engineering learning experiences on diverse students’ attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of engineering, and the relationship between students’ interests and the practices and cultures of engineering. Her current work at the FACE lab is on teaching strategies for K-12 STEM educators integrating engineering design and the development of engineering skills of K-12 learners.

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On the road to obtaining a graduate degree in engineering education, graduate students have limited opportunities to develop a comprehensive toolbox required for a future career as an engineering education faculty member. The current professional development trajectory focuses on the acquisition of technical knowledge through required courses and research projects. However, additional professional development activities require faculty advisors and students to strategically seek opportunities that develop other skills required of faculty members like teaching, course design, assessment, proposal writing, collaboration, and more. In addition, due to programmatic requirements, there is limited time and space for graduate students to explore “who they are” and “who they want to be” as a future faculty member. This paper is autoethnographic account of my, a current engineering education graduate student, professional identity development as an up-and-coming engineering education faculty member during a visiting scholar experience.

This paper investigates the impact of the visiting scholar experience during my graduate educational journey experience on “who I am” and “who I want to be” as a faculty member in the engineering education community. The autoethnographic study includes analysis of interviews conducted at the beginning, middle, and end of the professional development experience and weekly reflective journals to identify significant interactions that influenced my construction, negotiation, or rejection of professional identities. In addition, the paper discusses how my identity development through this experience has informed my dissertation direction for degree completion. As a result, this study intends to highlight the benefits of professional development opportunities through avenues beyond coursework and research projects to encourage graduate students’ to explore alternative ways to develop their professional identity as aspiring engineering education faculty members.

Maxey, K. R. (2019, June), Becoming in Action: An Autoethnography of My Professional Identity Development as an Aspiring Engineering Education Faculty Member Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32141

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