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Board 29: Initial Qualitative Exploration into First-Year Engineering Community and Identity

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Rachel Louis Kajfez Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University (OSU). She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from OSU and earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Her research interests focus on the intersection between motivation and identity of undergraduate and graduate students, first-year engineering programs, mixed methods research, and innovative approaches to teaching. She leads the RIME Collaborative and Toy Adaptation Program at OSU.

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Mahnas Jean Mohammadi-Aragh Mississippi State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jean Mohammadi-Aragh is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Mississippi State University. Dr. Mohammadi-Aragh investigates the use of digital systems to measure and support engineering education, specifically through learning analytics and the pedagogical uses of digital systems. She also investigates fundamental questions critical to improving undergraduate engineering degree pathways. . She earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. In 2013, Dr. Mohammadi-Aragh was honored as a promising new engineering education researcher when she was selected as an ASEE Educational Research and Methods Division Apprentice Faculty.

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Abigail Clark Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

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Abigail Clark is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. She is currently advised by Dr. Rachel Kajfez, and is part of the RIME collaborative ( Her research interests include engineering identity development in K12 students, engineering education in informal settings, and women’s experiences in the engineering field. Prior to coming to Ohio State, Abigail worked as a researcher at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, OH. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio Northern University.

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Soundouss Sassi Mississippi State University

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Soundouss Sassi is a Ph.D. student in Engineering Education at Mississippi State University. Her advisor is Dr. Jean Mohammadi Aragh. In 2016 she earned a Master in Aerospace Engineering from the same university. Prior to that, she earned a Bachelor in Aerospace Engineering from the International University of Rabat (UIR)

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Jane Petrie

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First-year engineering programs provide a unique context for students to establish engineering communities and establish their engineering identities. Yet, little is known about how these experiences compare to those students who start in discipline specific programs. More broadly, even less is known about how first-year experiences differ for students from regional campuses or transfer students. This project aims to better understand how the first-year experiences of these students from various pathways affect their development across their college career. We specifically focus on their engineering communities and engineering identities using Communities of Practice as our theoretical lens.

To date, we have completed a series of three baseline surveys related to engineering communities and identity across the first-year engineering experience. This information was used to inform the development of an interview protocol related to engineering communities and engineering identity. That protocol was used during our first of three rounds of interviews which were conducted in Spring 2018. During that time, we interviewed 29 students from three Institutions who represent a variety of first-year engineering pathways (e.g., transfer students, regional campus students, students from discipline specific programs, students from first-year engineering program, etc.). These interviews are being analyzed and will serve as a starting point for our round two interviews, which will be conducted in Spring 2019. The round two and three interviews will be conducted with the same participants so we can understand their identity development through communities of practice over their time as they complete their engineering degree program.

The insights from this project will allow us to better understand the long-term impacts of first-year engineering experiences on engineering communities and students’ engineering identity. We expect that there will be common trajectories for development for some students but that others will have unique developmental experiences that contribute to their individual views of themselves as engineers.

Kajfez, R. L., & Mohammadi-Aragh, M. J., & Clark, A., & Sassi, S., & Petrie, J. (2019, June), Board 29: Initial Qualitative Exploration into First-Year Engineering Community and Identity Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32315

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