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Collaborative Research: Gender Diversity, Identity and EWB-USA

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.283.1 - 24.283.8



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Paper Authors


Kaitlin Litchfield University of Colorado, Boulder

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Kaitlin Litchfield received her undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering at the University of New Hampshire and is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering Department within the Mortenson Center for Engineering in Developing Communities. Her research interest is in recruiting, educating, and retaining engineers capable of meeting global development challenges, and her current work is focused on understanding engineers involved specifically with Engineers Without Borders-USA.

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Amy Javernick-Will University of Colorado, Boulder

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Amy Javernick-Will holds a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University and has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering Department at the University of Colorado-Boulder since 2010. Her research investigates managing infrastructure projects and project-based organizations, with particular interests in global projects, knowledge mobilization in projects and project-based organizations, diversity and boundary-spanning, and disaster recovery.

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Cathy Leslie P.E. Engineers Without Borders - USA

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Collaborative Research: Gender Diversity, Identity and EWB-USAEngineers face challenges to grow, diversify, and more broadly prepare their profession for a rapidlychanging world. With the complexity of these challenges, the profession can learn from betterunderstanding unique examples of success at achieving these challenges. Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA) exhibits many of the attributes of a desirable engineering population. Growing to13,800 members in eleven years, consisting of over 40% females, and boasting of broad educationalgains, EWB-USA serves as an important research context.This NSF-REE funded research uses a sequential mixed-methods approach to explore the success ofEWB-USA. First, qualitative data was collected through (1) open-ended response forms at regional EWB-USA conferences and (2) through interviews and focus groups which were held with 165 engineers fromaround the country both involved and not involved with the organization. Major emerging trendssuggested that EWB-USA engineers possess unique qualities from more traditional engineers such asatypical motivations, more outgoing and open personality types, more professional skills gained, and alarger struggle with issues of identity and persistence in traditional engineering. These trends have beenused to develop a survey to test these characteristics on a broader scale, which has been piloted with alarge research-based university, analyzed, and deployed to EWB-USA, ASCE, ASME, and SWEmemberships. This poster presentation will summarize the qualitative findings and share thepreliminary quantitative survey findings for this project. Predicted contributions from this work extendto industry recruiting and retention and to educational curricular reform.

Litchfield, K., & Javernick-Will, A., & Leslie, C. (2014, June), Collaborative Research: Gender Diversity, Identity and EWB-USA Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20174

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