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Engineering and Engineering Education as Spiritual Vocations

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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

Engineering as a Professional Calling

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.491.1 - 24.491.11



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Paper Authors


Julia D Thompson Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Julia Thompson is a PhD candidate in Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her current research is focused on service-learning partnerships in engineering education. She also does extensive research in global engineering education, and has an interest in how to integrate Quaker process in engineering design. Julia received her undergraduate BS in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley, and worked as a energy consultant for a few years before starting her doctoral studies.

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Mel Chua Purdue University

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Mel Chua is a contagiously enthusiastic hacker, writer, and educator with over a decade of teaching and curriculum development experience and a track record of leadership in Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) communities.
Raised Catholic, she deliberately walked away from organized religion at the same time she commenced formal technical studies -- only to discover in graduate school that her 12-year attempt at agnosticism had been a sort of spiritual training of its own. Mel is now an active practitioner of both Catholicism and Computer Engineering.

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Cole Hatfield Joslyn Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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Cole Joslyn is a doctoral student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His research interests include engineering as a socially just profession in service to humanity and holistic approaches to engineering education such as ethics of care, humanistic education, and spirituality. He holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a M.Ed. specializing in math education and has worked as an engineer, a pastor, and a high school math teacher.

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Engineering and Engineering Education as Spiritual VocationsSpirituality and engineering (education) are often kept in separate compartmentsin our lives. They may slip out occasionally for conversations during ethicsclasses or service learning projects, but speaking -- and living -- ourspiritual/religious values as engineers and engineering educators/researchers isstill uneasy territory for many. The spirit of free inquiry and reflection thatpermeates the liberal arts urges us to integrate our spirituality into the human andnatural worlds we inhabit. How do we bring such thinking into the technicalrealms?In this session, we will describe our personal journeys toward engineeringeducation and how we actively and reflectively integrate our core values andspiritual/religious beliefs and practices into unexpected aspects of our work asengineers, engineering educators, and engineering education researchers. Eachfacilitator comes from a different faith tradition and technical background. Mel isan open source software hacker rediscovering feminist Catholicism. Julia is aQuaker-Buddhist with a degree in Chemical engineering who worked as a energyconsultant for two years. And Cole is a Christian with a degree in industrialengineering who spent over ten years as a minister.

Thompson, J. D., & Chua, M., & Joslyn, C. H. (2014, June), Engineering and Engineering Education as Spiritual Vocations Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20382

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