June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Women in Engineering
22.660.1 - 22.660.16
Exaggerating the typical, stereotyping the di fferences: Isola tion ex perienced by wo men i n STEM doctoral programsCareerWISE is an expansive research project funded by the National Science Foundation. Ourgoals are to help understand and mitigate the “pipeline” and glass-ceiling effects for women inSTEM, specifically at the graduate school level of women’s career trajectories. Over the pastseveral years, CareerWISE has conducted several different studies with current and formerfemale doctoral students in male-dominated STEM disciplines. The results of these studies haveinformed the creation of an online career resource for graduate students.The proposed paper will describe the results of a qualitative, longitudinal CareerWISE studydesigned to better understand how career and educational choices unfold overtime bydocumenting everyday situational experiences over the course of an entire academic year.Participants recruited from private and public universities across the US submitted internetjournal entries (“blogs”) and/or were interviewed biweekly during fall and spring semesters.Ethnographic techniques were employed to elicit details of concrete incidents. Constantcomparative analysis was used for understanding journal entries and interview transcripts.A common experience of participants was “feeling different” from an implied institutional norm.Not only were women in departments dominated by men, they had differing family ties, workedand communicated remotely, were the only domestic or international student, an ethnic minority,in a different age-bracket, and/or had different lifestyle preferences than other students. The tacitpositioning of work load expectations, scheduled meetings, attendance at conferences, and socialevents geared toward “typical” students exaggerated differences and led to greater stereotypingof these women. These and other discouraging incidents led students to question theircompetence, their “fit” in the institution and by association the profession, and futureaspirations. The proposed paper will further explain academic and social isolation reported bythe participants, how this process unfolds over the course of doctoral studies, and is negotiatedby students.
Fabert, N., & Ph.D., M. C., & Rivers, M. B., & Smith, M. L., & Bernstein, B. L. (2011, June), Exaggerating the Typical and Stereotyping the Differences: Isolation Experienced by Women in STEM Doctoral Programs Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17941
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