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Comparative Study of the Effect of Numerical Majority and Non-majority Status on the Intersection of Professional and Cultural Identity of African American Engineering Students

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Conference

2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference

Location

Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 29, 2018

Start Date

April 29, 2018

End Date

May 2, 2018

Conference Session

Race/Ethnicity Track - Technical Session IV

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Race/Ethnicity

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29523

Download Count

34

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Paper Authors

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Lesley M. Berhan University of Toledo

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Lesley Berhan is currently the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement for the College of Engineering and an Associate Professor in the department of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering at The University of Toledo. Her research interests are in the areas of composites and fibrous materials and engineering education. She received her B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad, her M.S. in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She joined the faculty at the University of Toledo in 2004. As the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement she leads the development and execution of initiatives and programs to facilitate the recruitment, retention, and success of women, students from underrepresented groups and first generation students. These duties are well aligned with her current research interests and external funding in engineering education.

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Revathy Kumar

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Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the Combined Program in Education and Psychology, University of Michigan. At the graduate level, she teaches courses in Adolescent Development, Motivational Theory and Application, Cultural Perspectives in Learning and Development, and Self and Identity. Her research focuses on social and cultural processes involved in constructing a sense of self and identity among adolescents in culturally diverse societies. Of particular interest are the role of teachers, teacher-education programs, schools, communities, and families in facilitating minority and immigrant adolescents’ development, learning, and motivation. Her work is published in Journal of Teacher Education, Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Research on Adolescence, Contemporary Educational Psychology, and Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. She received a Spencer Foundation Grant in 2007 to examine academic prospects, interpersonal relationships, and social well-being of students in school districts with a high concentration of students of Arab and Chaldean origins. Recently, she received internal grants from the University of Toledo to conduct mindfulness intervention projects with elementary school students and preservice teachers. She is also the recipient of the Fulbright Specialist Fellowship to pursue her interest in culture, mindfulness, and motivation in cross-cultural and international contexts.

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Aaron Lee Adams Alabama A&M University

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Aaron Adams is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering at Alabama A & M University. Before pursuing graduate studies, he worked at the National Academy of Engineering & Ford Motor Company as a product design engineer focusing on Minority STEM education and environmental policies. His research interests include nuclear radiation detection and thermal electric material development. He also works with the Center for Entrepreneurship Innovation and Economic Development to encourage African American students, and underrepresented groups in developing business innovation and ideas.

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Marjory A. Goodloe

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Marjory Goodloe is a doctoral student at the University of Toledo with expertise in educational policy and educational leadership. An acclaimed community activist and writer, Marjory is dedicated to improving the lives of youth in foster care; as such, she has spent nearly a decade developing programs geared toward improving the educational outcomes of youth in foster care. Her passion for education reform led her to pursue a doctorate in Educational Theory & Social Foundations with a minor in Educational Administration.

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Jimmie Karl Jones University of Toledo

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Jimmie Jones is a doctoral student in the Judith Herb College of Education's Educational Psychology program at the University of Toledo. His research focus is concerned with understanding the ways in which culture and climate impact student's cognition, attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes. His population of interest is racial/ethnic minorities, with African American student experiences as the focal point.

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Willie Lewis McKether The University of Toledo

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Willie McKether is the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Vice Provost at The University of Toledo. Formerly, he was associate dean in UT’s College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences and is an associate professor of anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. His academic areas of focus include African-American migration and culture, as well as business anthropology and urban anthropology, with a focus on student retention and school culture as well as social network analysis. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Grand Valley State University, a master’s degree in business administration from Saginaw Valley State University, and a Master of Arts degree in labor and industrial relations, as well as a doctoral degree in business anthropology, from Wayne State University. Dr. McKether is a founding member (2011) of Brothers on the Rise, a retention and mentoring program at UT as well as the Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program (MESP) summer bridge program at The University of Toledo. His community involvement includes: advisory board member, Art Tatum African-American Resource Center at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library; founding member (2009), Edrene Cole African-American Oral History Collection in Toledo; member of United Way of Greater Toledo’s African-American Leadership Council; and he is a Board of Trustee member with YMCA. He also is past president of the Central States Anthropological Society.

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Abstract

This is a comparative study of the factors affecting the psychosocial and academic well-being and career aspirations of African-American engineering students at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) and a Historically Black University (HBCU). The effect of numerical majority- and non-majority status on black identity, self-image, awareness of prejudice and discrimination, and salience of black identity on campus and in the engineering profession are examined from intergroup contact hypothesis (Pettigrew, 1998) and optimal distinctiveness model (Brewer, 2010) perspectives. We hypothesize that numerical majority status is likely to facilitate a stronger integration of cultural and professional identity for engineering students at HBCU relative to PWI and positively influence their well-being and career aspirations. We also hypothesize that the nature of intergroup relationships at the two institutions is likely to play a role in the extent to which students’ report awareness of discrimination, and experience its impact their self-image and identity. Analysis of focus-group interviews (HBCU = 7; PWI =8) using NVivo 11 suggest that students at PWI report a greater degree of salience and distinctiveness of black identity and experience greater stereotype threat on campus than their counterparts at the HBCU. Students at HBCU describe a greater sense of responsibility to counteract perceived discrimination and the stereotypes imposed upon them off campus and in the profession. The final paper will provide further in-depth analyses of the interviews will be conducted to present a nuanced understanding of factors supporting the development of strong professional and cultural identity among African-American students in both institutions.

Berhan, L. M., & Kumar, R., & Adams, A. L., & Goodloe, M. A., & Jones, J. K., & McKether, W. L. (2018, April), Comparative Study of the Effect of Numerical Majority and Non-majority Status on the Intersection of Professional and Cultural Identity of African American Engineering Students Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29523

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