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Engineering Graduate Education: An Overwhelming Journey of First-Generation Immigrants

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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

Graduate Studies Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

20

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37063

Download Count

15

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Paper Authors

biography

Hoda Ehsan Georgia Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3681-317X

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Hoda is a postdoctoral fellow at Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics & Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. from the School of Engineering Education, Purdue. She received her B.S. in mechanical engineering in Iran, and obtained her M.S. in Childhood Education and New York teaching certification from City College of New York (CUNY-CCNY). She is now a graduate research assistant on STEM+C project. Her research interests include designing informal setting for engineering learning, and promoting engineering thinking in children with special need in informal and formal settings.

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biography

Shabnam Ghotbi Purdue University at West Lafayette

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Shabnam Ghotbi is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. She has taught assorted Electrical Engineering courses including senior design since 2017. She has published various articles in designing engineering curriculums as well as promoting teaching stategies.

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Hossein Ebrahiminejad Purdue University at West Lafayette

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Hossein Ebrahiminejad is a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering Education at Purdue University. He completed his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in Iran. His research interests include student pathways, educational policy, and quantitative research methods.

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Seyedali Ghahari Purdue University at West Lafayette

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Ali is an Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) advisor in the Department of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He received his Ph.D. from the Lyles School of Civil Engineering in 2021. He received his B.Sc. in Railway Engineering from IUST, and his M.Sc. in Construction Engineering and Management from AUT in Iran. He received his second M.Sc. in Construction Materials from Purdue in 2016 and his third Master's in Applied Economics in 2020 from Purdue. Ali has been a researcher at the Concrete Technology and Durability Research Center at AUT for 3 years, and has served as a research scholar at IUST for 2 years. At Purdue, he has served as a teaching assistant since 2015 and head teaching assistant at EPICS since 2017. Ali has more than 30 publications on different aspects of civil engineering, education and curriculum design, and engineering ethics.

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Abstract

Engineering graduate programs in the United States are usually diverse. Students with different nationalities, races, ethnicities, genders, and religions work and collaborate with each other in classes, labs, and research projects. Graduate education often is called a transformative experience, in which students will have the opportunity to grow both professionally and personally. However, for many students, given their diverse backgrounds, the status quo culture in academia, and the long-term pressure, graduate education may become extremely overwhelming and frustrating. In order to support and help the transformation of students, it is important to explore the challenges that students face, and the potential support they can receive accordingly. In this paper, we aim to share the experiences of engineering graduate students who are first-generation immigrants. To reach this aim, we utilize a cooperative inquiry in which multiple people share and explore a topic from their own perspectives. The exploration happens through collective conversation and reflection of the authors as well as over ten other graduate students. The students and us share the same nationality, religion, and language. We are at different levels of our doctoral program in different engineering majors. The findings we share in this paper are the accumulation of all stories we heard, reflections on the stories, and our own experiences. This cooperative inquiry process can serve as a guide for other graduate students in discovering their personal journey during their graduate years. In addition, the findings can provide insights for university administrations and policymakers to ease this transformation process, especially for immigrant students.

Ehsan, H., & Ghotbi, S., & Ebrahiminejad, H., & Ghahari, S. (2021, July), Engineering Graduate Education: An Overwhelming Journey of First-Generation Immigrants Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37063

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