Asee peer logo

Black Engineering and Computing Doctoral Students' Peer Interaction that Foster Racial Isolation

Download Paper |

Conference

2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference

Location

Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 29, 2018

Start Date

April 29, 2018

End Date

May 2, 2018

Conference Session

Race/Ethnicity Track - Technical Session VII

Tagged Topic

Race/Ethnicity

Page Count

32

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29519

Download Count

49

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Monica L. Ridgeway Vanderbilt University

visit author page

Monica L. Ridgeway is a first-year Postdoctoral Research Fellow as part of the Academic Pathways Program at Vanderbilt University. She has joined the Explorations in Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative (EDEFI) research team lead by Drs. Ebony McGee and William H. Robinson. Monica has recently received her Ph.D. in Science Education from the University at Buffalo. As a former science educator, Monica is concerned with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning for historically and contemporarily marginalized students of color. Her research focuses on the role of identity, racialized experiences, and marginalization in K-12 and higher education STEM spaces. Her work seems to challenge and problematize traditional notions of STEM teaching and learning and present solutions for marginalized groups to have access.

visit author page

biography

Ebony Omotola McGee Vanderbilt University

visit author page

Ebony O. McGee is an Associate Professor of Diversity and Urban Schooling at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College and a member of Scientific Careers Research and Development Group at Northwestern University. She received her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and she was a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. As a former electrical engineer, she is concerned with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning and participation among historically marginalized students of color. Her research focuses on the role of racialized experiences and biases in STEM educational and career attainment, problematizing traditional notions of academic achievement and what it means to be successful yet marginalized, and STEM identity and identity development in high-achieving students of color. She is currently the PI on two studies funded by NSF, the first of which investigates the causes behind why African Americans remain one of the most underrepresented racial groups in engineering faculty positions. The second study is working toward the design of a holistic racial and gender attentive mentoring program for engineering Ph.D. students of color.

visit author page

biography

Dara Elizabeth Naphan-Kingery Vanderbilt University

visit author page

Dara Naphan-Kingery is an interdisciplinary social psychologist and postdoctoral researcher at Vanderbilt University with the Explorations in Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative (EDEFI) group. She is interested in understanding the racialized and gendered experiences of historically marginalized engineering scholars. She is particularly interested in how mental health and identity management strategies mediate the relationship between discrimination experiences and academic and career outcomes, and the role that socially responsible engineering and social justice in engineering can play in attracting and retaining underrepresented students to the field.

visit author page

biography

Amanda J. Brockman Vanderbilt University

visit author page

Amanda is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Vanderbilt University.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

We analyzed how the experiences of Black engineering and computing doctoral students were impacted by stereotype-based interactions with their peers which involved microagressions, blatant racism, and/or exclusion. This study uses the theoretical frameworks of institutional racism (institutional-level racism embedded specifically within STEM which positions Black students as impostors) and impostor syndrome (individualized feelings of being an impostor within the institutional climate) as guiding theoretical frameworks. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 23 Black PhD students about their doctoral experiences, in which instances of stereotype-led peer interactions emerged across nearly all interviews. Respondents described how 1) their racial underrepresentation and 2) stereotype-based interactions with White, Asian, and international peers challenged their sense of belonging within their departments. Stereotyped-based interactions occurred one-on-one through microagressions and blatant racism with their peers and in small groups required for collaborative research. When they were not excluded from study groups altogether, their inclusion was contingent upon repeatedly confirming their intellect and assuring that the group could benefit from their contributions. Their underrepresentation and opposition from their peers positioned them as intellectual imposters, deemed unworthy of full incorporation within the institutional climate. They responded by working harder to prove their intellectual worth as well as an attempt to combat the blowback of being racially stereotyped. Such individual efforts to both succeed and combat institututionalized racism are psychologically taxing and can ultimately detract from focusing on the academic work at hand and even increase attrition from these academic spaces. This research affirms the need to instate initiatives at the institutional or departmental level to make engineering and computing programs more inclusive spaces for diverse students and to combat/minimize the types of exclusionary practices seen in this research. A focus on student-centered initiatives could positively impact the retention of talented students within doctoral programs.

Ridgeway, M. L., & McGee, E. O., & Naphan-Kingery, D. E., & Brockman, A. J. (2018, April), Black Engineering and Computing Doctoral Students' Peer Interaction that Foster Racial Isolation Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29519

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015