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Examination of Ableist Educational Systems and Structures that Limit Access to Engineering Education through Narratives

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

How Communities and Systems Influence Equity: Equity, Culture & Social Justice in Education Division Technical Session 2

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Paper Authors


Marissa Tsugawa Utah State University - Engineering Education

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Marissa Tsugawa is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University. Their research interest is in neurodivergence and how it manifests in engineering education. Past work includes exploring motivation and identity of engineering graduate students, women of color's experiences on engineering teams, and experiences around LGBTQ+ advocacy in STEM. Dr. Tsugawa uses mixed-method approaches with a social constructivist paradigm.

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Brady Webster

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Sakshi Solanki Utah State University

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Autumn Cuellar

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Catherine Spence Minnesota State University, Mankato

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The purpose of this paper is to examine how higher education systems limit access to engineering education for disabled and neurodivergent engineering students. Throughout this paper we will discuss ableism in higher education systems. Particularly, U.S. institutions and education are designed for non-disabled and neurotypical people rather than with accessibility for all despite legal efforts to improve access to education. We also provide two narratives from the authors that describe their experiences with having a disability and being neurodivergent in engineering education. Finally, we suggest other paradigms and methodologies engineering education researchers can utilize when conducting research on disability and neurodivergence in engineering.

Tsugawa, M., & Webster, B., & Solanki, S., & Cuellar, A., & Spence, C. (2022, August), Examination of Ableist Educational Systems and Structures that Limit Access to Engineering Education through Narratives Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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