Asee peer logo

Board 102: Exploring Enculturation in the First-Year Engineering Program (Year II)

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Noemi V. Mendoza Diaz Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Mendoza Diaz is Instructional Assistant Professor at the Dwight College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. She obtained her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Educational Administration and Human Resource Development and worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning-INSPIRE at the School of Engineering Education-Purdue University. She was a recipient of the Apprentice Faculty Grant from the Educational Research Methods ASEE Division in 2009. She also has been an Electrical Engineering Professor for two Mexican universities. Dr. Mendoza is interested in Pre-college and College Engineering Readiness, Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Engineering Students, Latino Studies in Engineering and Computer Aided/Instructional Technology in Engineering.

visit author page


So Yoon Yoon Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

So Yoon Yoon, Ph.D., is an assistant research scientist at Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation (IEEI) within the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and Texas A&M University. She received her Ph.D. and Educational Psychology with the specialties in Gifted Education and Research Methods & Measurement, respectively from Purdue University. Her work centers on P-16 engineering education research, as a psychometrician, program evaluator, and institutional data analyst. She has authored/co-authored more than 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings and served as a reviewer of journals in engineering education, STEM education, and educational psychology, as well as an external evaluator and an advisory board member on several NSF-funded projects.

visit author page


Jacques C. Richard Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Richard got his Ph. D. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1989 & a B. S. at Boston University, 1984. He was at NASA Glenn, 1989-1995, taught at Northwestern for Fall 1995, worked at Argonne National Lab, 1996-1997, Chicago State, 1997-2002. Dr. Richard is a Sr. Lecturer & Research Associate in Aerospace Engineering @ Texas A&M since 1/03. His research is focused on computational plasma modeling using spectral and lattice Boltzmann methods for studying plasma turbulence and plasma jets. His research has also included fluid physics and electric propulsion using Lattice-Boltzmann methods, spectral element methods, Weighted Essentially Non-Oscillatory (WENO), etc.
Past research includes modeling single and multi-species plasma flows through ion thruster optics and the discharge cathode assembly; computer simulations of blood flow interacting with blood vessels; modeling ocean-air interaction; reacting flow systems; modeling jet engine turbomachinery going unstable at NASA for 6 years (received NASA Performance Cash awards). Dr. Richard is involved in many outreach activities: e.g., tutoring, mentoring, directing related grants (for example, a grant for an NSF REU site). Dr, Richard is active in professional societies (American Physical Society (APS), American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), etc.), ASEE, ASME. Dr. Richard has authored or co-authored about 25 technical articles (19 of which are refereed publications). Dr. Richard teaches courses ranging from first-year introductory engineering design, fluid mechanics, to space plasma propulsion.

visit author page


Tanya Dugat Wickliff Texas A&M University

visit author page

Delivering significant results in pivotal roles such as Sr. Consultant to high-profile clients, Sr. Project Manager directing teams, and Executive Leader of initiatives and programs that boost organizational effectiveness and optimize operations have been hallmarks of Dr. Wickliff’s career spanning more than 24 years with leaders in the oil & gas and semiconductor industries.

As an expert in the areas of Executive Leadership and Team Development, Strategy Design & Execution, Supply Chain Optimization, Change Management, System Integration and LEAN Process Improvement (technical and business), Dr. Wickliff is passionate about Organizational Wellness and the Holistic Wellness of individuals. She is also a professional Facilitator and Motivational Speaker.

Dr. Wickliff earned a PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering from Texas A&M University where she combined Industrial Engineering and Organizational Development to conduct research in the area of talent management and organizational effectiveness. She also completed an executive MBA from the University of Texas-Dallas and a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Houston. She is founder of a nationally recognized pre-college initiative program, FreshStart, which has served more than 2000 students since its inception.

Dr. Wickliff is blessed to work daily in the area of her passion – developing young professionals – in her role at Texas A&M University. She is a Professor of Engineering Practice. At Texas A&M University, she has taught Capstone Senior Design, Statics & Dynamics, Engineering Ethics, Engineering Leadership and Foundations of Engineering courses. She has also taught Project Management and Risk Management courses for the University of Phoenix.

Dr. Wickliff has been honored with University of Houston’s Distinguished Young Engineering Alumni Award, the Black Engineer of the Year Career Achievement Award for New Emerging Leaders and featured in several publications. She has presented keynote addresses, facilitated workshops and given motivational presentations at numerous civic and corporate forums domestically and internationally. She is a contributing author to Tavis Smiley’s book, “Keeping the Faith”, with her inspiring life story. Dr. Wickliff was honored to write the forward for her youngest son's book, "Young And Driven" which chronicles his historical journey from youngest engineer in the nation at age 19 to youngest Harvard Law graduate at 22 and more. She believes that her life’s calling and thus career quest is to be a catalyst of significant, positive change and growth for individuals and entities. However, through it all, Dr. Wickliff gives top priority to her relationship with God, her husband Rev. Oscar Smith and her three sons – Jamar Dugat, Raymond Wickliff and Dr. Cortlan J. Wickliff, Esq. Her youngest son, she was able to hood at his PhD ceremony upon his graduation from her same PhD program at Texas A&M University.

visit author page

Download Paper |


During the Fall of 2016, Spring of 2017 and Fall of 2017, first year students have been inquired about their understanding of engineering culture and their process of enculturation to engineering. Approximately 800 students have answered online surveys and approximately 45 have participated in focus groups. This poster presents the results of the NSF funded project titled “Research Initiation: Exploring Enculturation of Engineering students in the First-Year Engineering Program” during its second year of progress. Enculturation is defined as the process by which an individual learns the traditional content of a culture and assimilates its knowledge, practices and values. The research team approach to the professional formation of engineers is through the notion of the first-year engineering experience viewed as an “enculturating process.” The goals of this project are (a) to increase the number of engineers supplied to the labor force, and (b) to increase the participation of traditionally underrepresented groups to engineering. The research questions this project seeks to answer are: 1. How do foundational engineering courses facilitate enculturation of first-year engineering students in terms of their performance in engineering enculturation outcome factors? 2. Among the engineering enculturation outcome factors, which are perceived by students to be the easiest and/or most challenging/difficult to achieve? 3. How do students’ perceptions of enculturation to be an engineer change over time? According to gender analysis, results show that the contribution of the courses in the first year engineering program is perceived as more foundational for female than male students. Female students also emphasized the importance of problem solving and communication skills. In terms of ethnicity, the contribution of the courses did not show many differences except for specific skills such as programming and communications. In terms of advance in the engineering program, upper level students taking the foundational courses tend to value friends and peers in engineering (as factors other than foundational courses) more than freshmen. Also, in terms of rating ABET outcomes (considered enculturation factors), from easiest to more challenging, the analysis revealed that the outcomes perceived as more challenging are: (a) knowledge of contemporary issues in engineering, (b) to have a broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context and (c) the ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints as an engineer. The easiest perceived outcomes were (a) the ability to apply my knowledge of mathematics to solve engineering problems, (b) the ability to recognize the need for and plan to engage in life-long learning as an engineering, and (c) the ability to function well on multidisciplinary teams as an engineer. In general terms, the implications of these results are that gender, ethnicity, and level in the engineering program play a role in the way enculturation to engineering is perceived and assimilated during the first-year engineering experience. Further investigation is taking place as part of the ongoing, second year of this project.

Mendoza Diaz, N. V., & Yoon, S. Y., & Richard, J. C., & Wickliff, T. D. (2018, June), Board 102: Exploring Enculturation in the First-Year Engineering Program (Year II) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29860

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