June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session
Project funded by Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC)
While post-secondary enrollment rates have increased for all groups over the last 40 years, higher education enrollment, and specifically enrollment in engineering programs, continues to vary based on demographic characteristics. As a result, efforts to spark interest in engineering among PreK-12 underrepresented students have increased substantially in recent years. However, as past work has demonstrated, interest is not always sufficient to help students pursue engineering majors, particularly for rural students. In many rural communities, strong family networks, community values, and local economic drivers often play a significant role in shaping students’ career choices. To account for these contextual factors, this project shifts the focus from individual students to the communities themselves to understand how key stakeholders and organizations support engineering as a major choice. Our research aims to gain a holistic understanding of the rural communities by employing three phases:
1. Focus groups and interviews with undergraduate engineering students from selected rural high schools that are known for producing high numbers of engineering majors. 2. Interviews with key individuals (e.g. teachers, guidance counselors, community leaders) and observations of activities that emerged as salient in Phase 1. 3. Participatory design workshops to share findings from the first two phases and foster creative dialogue among the rural schools and communities.
The focus groups and individual interviews conducted in Phase 1 provided a rich understanding of how and why undergraduate students from rural high schools selected engineering as a college major. They also laid the foundation for the second phase of this project, which includes interviews with key members of the students' home communities and observations of programs and/or events that emerged as salient. Data collection for Phase 2 will continue through the Spring 2019 semester and our poster will present high-level insights from the interviews and observations.The findings from this phase will allow us to triangulate students’ perceptions with the perceptions and practices of others and will provide a rich understanding of the goals, attitudes, and experiences of community members who often play a key role in students’ decisions.
Vaziri, S. L., & Grohs, J. R., & Paretti, M. C., & Baum, L. M., & McGlothlin Lester, M., & Newbill, P. L. (2019, June), Board 151: Broadening the Participation of Rural Students in Engineering: Preliminary Findings on the Perspectives of Key Community Members Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32269
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