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Crystallized Identity: A Look at Identity Development through Cross-disciplinary Experiences in Engineering

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Identity and Culture

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.371.1 - 25.371.22



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Paper Authors


Tiago R. Forin Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Tiago Forin is a Ph.D. student in engineering education at Purdue University. Forin has received his B.S. in civil engineering from Florida State University in 2006 and his M.S. in environmental engineering from Purdue University in 2008. Forin currently does research in cross-disciplinary experiences in engineering in the XRoads Research Group headed by Dr. Robin Adams of Purdue University. Forin also has an interest in global service design and has participated in the Global Engineering program at Purdue.

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Robin Adams Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Kristen Hatten Purdue University

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Wearing Hats: A look at multifaceted identity through cross-disciplinary experiences in engineeringQualitative researchers have often used an identity lens when examining professionaldevelopment. The many facets of identity are crucial to learning as they tend to act as self-fulfilling prophecies and are likely to play a critical role in shaping individuals’ actions.Recently, research has emerged which uses crystallized identity as a framework to exploremultiple facets of professional development. The framework of crystallized identity offersinsight into emotions that drive professionals to act in a certain way when confronted with adecision or a conflict. These emotions also play a role in creating barriers between professionalsfrom different disciplines. While research using crystallized identity has been focused on topicssuch as women’s professional development, the framework has not been specifically focused onthe engineering profession. Importantly, the influences of emotion in the development of anengineer and in that individual’s cross-disciplinary development are as yet unaddressed. Thispaper reflects work being done on a two year longitudinal study using a collection of 31participants that span multiple disciplines in engineering and developmental stages (e.g.freshmen to professional). The data from this study on cross-disciplinary experiences is drawnfrom two photo elicitation interviews that focus on the participants’ views on their personal,professional, disciplinary, and cross-disciplinary lives. This paper intends to show theimplications of using the crystallized identity framework to help researchers understand howindividuals explore cross-disciplinarity in their professional development.

Forin, T. R., & Adams, R., & Hatten, K. (2012, June), Crystallized Identity: A Look at Identity Development through Cross-disciplinary Experiences in Engineering Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21129

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