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Culturally-based Ethical Barriers for American Indian/Alaska Native Students and Professionals in Engineering

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Cross-cultural Sensitivity, Moral Imagination, and Diversity in Engineering Ethics Education

Tagged Division

Engineering Ethics

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--36888

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36888

Download Count

70

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Paper Authors

biography

Jani C. Ingram Northern Arizona University

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Jani C. Ingram, PhD investigates environmental contaminants with respect to their impact on health. A major part of her research is focused on characterizing uranium and arsenic contamination in water, soil, plants and livestock. A critical aspect of her research is to foster collaborations with the Native American community and leaders to build trust, obtain access to field samples and gain insights into their health concerns. Recruiting Native American students to work with her as a Navajo principal investigator on the project and building an interdisciplinary, collaborative team of scientists with expertise in analytical chemistry, geoscience, cancer biology, and social sciences are also important to her research. She is a member of the Navajo Nation (born to the Náneesht’ ézhi clan) and is involved in outreach activities for Native American students in undergraduate and graduate research. She is the principal investigator of the Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention and the director of the Bridges to Baccalaureate program. She was named the 2018 recipient of the American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences. She received an associate degree from Yavapai College, a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from New Mexico State University, and a doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of Arizona. She was a staff scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory for twelve years before joining the faculty at Northern Arizona University.

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Angelina E. Castagno Northern Arizona University

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Angelina E. Castagno, PhD, is the Director of the Diné Institute for Navajo Nation Educators, and a Professor of Educational Leadership and Foundations at Northern Arizona University. Her teaching, research, and consulting focus on equity and diversity in U.S. schools, with a focus on Indigenous education. She is an Associate Editor for the "Journal of American Indian Education" and has authored or edited three books and numerous articles in peer reviewed national and international journals. Her most recent edited volume was published in 2019 and is called "The Price of Nice: How Good Intentions Maintain Educational Inequity."

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biography

Ricky Camplain

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Ricky Camplain, PhD is an assistant professor of Health Sciences and the Center for Health Equity Research at Northern Arizona University. Dr. Camplain is a Comanche scholar who was trained in epidemiologic methods at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health where I received a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) and a doctoral degree in epidemiology with an emphasis on data analysis and biostatistics.

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Davona D Blackhorse Northern Arizona University

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Davona Blackhorse is doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary Health PhD program at Northern Arizona University. Ms. Blackhorse is a Navajo scholar interested in historical trauma of Indigenous people.

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Abstract

Prior research suggests various reasons for the paucity of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people in engineering fields, including academic deficiencies, lack of role models, and minimal financial support to pursue a college education. One potential reason that has yet to be explored relates to the cultural and spiritual factors that could deter AI/AN people from engineering fields. These barriers may create obstacles to progressing through engineering career pathways. Our research investigates the range and variation of cultural/spiritual/ethical issues that may be affecting AI/AN people’s success in engineering and other science, technology, and mathematics fields. The work reported here focuses on findings from students and professionals in engineering fields specifically. The study seeks to answer two research questions: (1) What ethical issues do AI/AN students and professionals in engineering fields experience, and how do they navigate these issues?, and (2) Do ethical issues impede AI/AN students from pursuing engineering careers, and if so, how? We distributed an online survey to AI/AN college students (undergraduate and graduate) and professionals in STEM fields, including engineers, in the western United States region. Our results indicate strong connections to AI/AN culture by the participants in the study as well as some cultural, ethical, and/or spiritual barriers that exist for AI/AN individuals in the engineering field. The AI/AN professionals had less concerns with respect to activities that may conflict with AI/AN cultural customs compared to the students, which may be a result of the professionals having gained experiences that allow them to navigate these situations. Overall, our research provides valuable insights for policy and practice within higher education institutions with engineering majors and/or graduate programs and organizations that employ engineering professionals.

Ingram, J. C., & Castagno, A. E., & Camplain, R., & Blackhorse, D. D. (2021, July), Culturally-based Ethical Barriers for American Indian/Alaska Native Students and Professionals in Engineering Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36888

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