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Black Men in the Making: Engaging in Maker Spaces Promotes Agency and Identity for Black Males in Engineering

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Conference

2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity

Location

Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 14, 2019

Start Date

April 14, 2019

End Date

April 22, 2019

Conference Session

Track : Special Topic - Identity Technical Session 7

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Special Topic: Identity

Page Count

21

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31744

Download Count

34

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Paper Authors

biography

Michael Lorenzo Greene Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus

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Michael Greene is a PhD Student in the Shifting Perceptions, Attitudes and Cultures (SPACE) Lab at Arizona State University. He is pursuing his degree in the Engineering Education Systems and Design program concurrently with a Master's degree in Engineering. Michael received his B.S. in Mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in April 2018. His research interest lies in diversity, inclusion and K-12 engineering pedagogy.

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Nadia N. Kellam Arizona State University

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Nadia Kellam is Associate Professor in the Polytechnic School of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU). She is a qualitative researcher who primarily uses narrative research methods and is interested more broadly in interpretive research methods. In her research, Dr. Kellam is broadly interested in developing critical understandings of the culture of engineering education and, especially, the experiences of underrepresented undergraduate engineering students and engineering educators. In addition to teaching undergraduate engineering courses and a graduate course on entrepreneurship, she also enjoys teaching qualitative research methods in engineering education in the Engineering Education Systems and Design PhD program at ASU. She is deputy editor of the Journal of Engineering Education.

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Brooke Charae Coley Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus

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Brooke Coley, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Engineering at the Polytechnic School of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. Dr. Coley is Principal Investigator of the Shifting Perceptions, Attitudes and Cultures in Engineering (SPACE) Lab that aspires to elevate the experiences of marginalized populations, dismantle systematic injustices, and transform the way inclusion is cultivated in engineering through the implementation of novel technologies and methodologies in engineering education. Intrigued by the intersections of engineering education, mental health and social justice, Dr. Coley’s primary research interest focuses on virtual reality as a tool for developing empathetic and inclusive mindsets among engineering faculty. She is also interested in hidden populations in engineering education and innovation for more inclusive pedagogies.

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Abstract

Keywords: Race/ethnicity, undergraduate, engineering Thought must be given to how individuals from underrepresented groups (URGs) conceptualize their academic engineering identities. Black male students have been shown to face a great challenge in integrating their racial identification into their self-concept. This “balancing act” involves the navigation and negotiation between multiple social spaces. The establishment of a positive identity associated with engineering is critical to how underrepresented students establish their sense of agency and overall “fit” within the institutional and/or professional setting. Yet, because of low numbers in participant populations, many studies fail to disaggregate the experiences of individuals from URGs. Further, if makerspaces represent an avenue of hope for fostering a generation of makers and innovative thinkers prepared to address the needs and challenges of our society, it is quite plausible that without careful attention we could be building another exclusionary system through makerspaces, grounded in the acceptance of Caucasian, male experiences and perceptions as the status quo. As making could potentially impact academic progression, through early exposure and opportunities to develop confidence through building, design, iteration and community, it is critical that we understand how all students, especially those from underrepresented groups, come to affiliate with, become alienated from and/or negotiate the cultural norms within these maker communities. To achieve this, it is necessary to explore the complexities of underrepresented students’ identity development. This study investigated the experiences of Black male engineering students that have also engaged in university-affiliated makerspaces as makers. Seven Black male students from a range of institution types, including Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Institutions (AANAPI), participated in narrative interviews to ascertain stories of their personal growth and identity development. Engaging in makerspaces was found to promote agency and engineering identity for Black male undergraduates; however, makerspaces located at PWIs were found to reflect the heteronormative culture of engineering in a way that challenged smooth navigation in and through these spaces for Black men.

Greene, M. L., & Kellam, N. N., & Coley, B. C. (2019, April), Black Men in the Making: Engaging in Maker Spaces Promotes Agency and Identity for Black Males in Engineering Paper presented at 2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity , Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/31744

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