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Climate Perceptions of Transgender & Nonbinary Engineering Undergraduate Students

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2019 ASEE PNW Section Conference


Corvallis, Oregon

Publication Date

March 20, 2019

Start Date

March 20, 2019

End Date

March 22, 2019

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Paper Authors


Andrea Haverkamp Oregon State University Orcid 16x16

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Andrea Haverkamp is a PhD candidate in Environmental Engineering with a Queer Studies minor at Oregon State University. Her dissertation research explores the support systems and community resiliency of transgender and gender nonconforming undergraduate students in undergraduate engineering education. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kansas and an M.Eng in Environmental Engineering from Oregon State University.

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(Poster Presentation)

Engineering remains the most male dominated professional occupation in the United States. Research into professional identity formation define engineering identity and culture as both existing within hegemonic masculinity. Gender in engineering research has traditionally investigated how this influences women and their gender identity & expression. Prior studies indicate that women may experience a lower perception of belonging in engineering and may alter their sense of self or gender presentation to “fit in.” LGBTQ+ individuals in engineering are found to report similar experiences, navigating the field with a rate of “closeting” that is the highest among STEM disciplines. Unexplored are experiences of those whose relationship to gender is more nuanced than two binary categories and an assumed cisgender status.

Results from the analysis of 2016 student survey data present climate perceptions which are significantly correlated with gender identity and gender status. Questions relating to sense of belonging, imposter syndrome, and perceptions of identity impact were asked by 32 questions which were averaged into 4 reliable social concept scales. Data interpretation was performed using IBM SPSS to ascertain trends, p values, and effect size represented by point biserial correlation (rpb) and eta. One’s gender as nonbinary or a woman is correlated to a greater awareness of identity, employment of impression management tactics, diminished belonging, and sense of doubt when compared to men. There were similar relationships when comparing cisgender students against transgender students. The data suggest nonbinary and transgender students are navigating an inequitable social climate in engineering education, necessitating further investigation.

Haverkamp, A. (2019, March), Climate Perceptions of Transgender & Nonbinary Engineering Undergraduate Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE PNW Section Conference, Corvallis, Oregon.

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