June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Educational Research and Methods
23.510.1 - 23.510.18
Although it has been found that students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities(HBCUs) are more likely to become professionals than their peers at Predominantly WhiteInstitutions (PWIs), much of the research on understanding African American engineeringundergraduates’ experiences has been conducted at PWIs. A similar case can be made forHispanic engineering students at Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). The 366 HSIs in theUnited States enroll 63% of all Hispanic students and 27% of all underrepresented minoritystudents studying in U.S. colleges and universities, but much of the research on Hispanicstudents has also been done on students matriculating at PWIs. This National ScienceFoundation-funded study focuses on African-American and Hispanic engineering undergraduatesat Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), seeking to understand their identities as engineeringundergraduates and how this identity develops while attending an MSI. This longitudinal study examines African-American and Hispanic engineeringundergraduates over a three-year period on two HBCU and two HSI campuses. This study uses amixed methods design. The quantitative data was collected using two surveys. The qualitativedata was collected from semi-structured individual interviews and focus groups. Interview andfocus group questions focused on participants’ family history, academic experience, thoughts onengineering, diversity, expectations, post-graduation plans, and their support systems.Participants (N=184) included male and female African-American and Hispanic sophomoreengineering students attending HBCUs and HSIs, respectively. This paper will address howattending an MSI influences minority students’ engineering identity development. Engineering identity was measured by participants’ rating of importance of being anengineering student. A preliminary data analysis found that the majority of students reportedthat having an engineering identity even as sophomores. The participants also reported theypossessed or were improving the skills they believed engineers must have. Both AfricanAmerican and Hispanic engineering undergraduates found benefits to attending an MSI. Theyreported benefits including curriculum that provided challenging coursework they felt theywould not find at other institutions, professors of backgrounds similar to their own who wereinvested in the students’ success, peers who were willing to create a community that workedtogether, and the institution’s overall reputation for graduating minority students in engineering.However, African American and Hispanic students typically had different overall experiences inattending an MSI, including their recognition of their institution as an MSI. The current paperwill discuss in depth the experiences of these students and how these experiences impact thedevelopment of their identity as engineers. This paper will demonstrate that minorityundergraduate engineering students at MSIs have experiences unique to what has been reportedin the literature thus far, and their experiences at MSIs specifically impact their engineeringidentity in ways that have not been found with previous research with Hispanic and AfricanAmerican engineering undergraduates.
Fleming, L. N., & Smith, K. C., & Williams, D. G., & Bliss, L. B. (2013, June), Engineering Identity of Black and Hispanic Undergraduates: The Impact of Minority Serving Institutions Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19524
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