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Board 39: The In/Authentic Experiences of Black Engineers

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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


Elliot P. Douglas University of Florida

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Elliot P. Douglas is Professor of Environmental Engineering Sciences, Associate Director for Research of the Institute for Excellence in Engineering Education, and Distinguished Teaching Scholar at the University of Florida. His research interests are in the areas of problem-solving, cultures of inclusion in engineering, engineering ethics, and environmental justice.

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Erica D. McCray University of Florida Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Erica D. McCray is an Associate Professor of Special Education at the University of Florida. Prior to joining the faculty, she served as a special educator for students with behavioral and learning disabilities in Title I elementary and middle school settings. Dr. McCray has been recognized on multiple levels for her teaching and research, which focuses on diversity issues.

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Gretchen A. Dietz University of Florida

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Gretchen A. Dietz is a graduate student within Environmental Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida. Her research interests include diversity in engineering and qualitative methodologies.

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The computer and information technology industry has received much attention in recent years due to its lack of diversity and the toxic culture in these companies. The population of the United States is 12% Blacks, but this representation does not carry out into the technology industry. The majority of tech companies have less than 5% Black employees. Due to these factors, many Black employees leave these companies, resulting in billions of dollars lost to replace their positions within the technology industry. The lack of diversity can also affect worker wellbeing, productivity, and innovation within the workplace. To bring awareness to this issue, our study examines the experiences of Black engineers through the narratives they tell about their workplaces. We aim to interview 40 engineers within the technology industry to understand the conditions in which they work. The interviews will be held with 10 each of: Black males, Black Females, White males, and White females, in order to attend to the intersectionality of race and gender. Each participant will provide their own individual experiences, which will allow us as researchers to examine, compare, and contrast across all accounts. Specifically, we will be using narrative analysis with three different frameworks: Faulkner’s in/authenticity, Helms and Piper’s pairing of racial identity theory and vocational psychology, and Kendi’s history of racist ideas. With our work, we will add to the depth of research on diversity by presenting our findings to industry leaders and conference sessions. The end goal of this project is to create a more welcoming and diverse community within the computer and information technology industry.

Douglas, E. P., & McCray, E. D., & Dietz, G. A. (2019, June), Board 39: The In/Authentic Experiences of Black Engineers Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32338

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