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Examining Gender Inclusivity through Sense of Belonging in a Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program at a Large Research University

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Conference

2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division (WIED) Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering Division (WIED)

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

DOI

10.18260/1-2--43485

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/43485

Download Count

134

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Paper Authors

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Shawna Dory Pennsylvania State University

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Shawna Dory is a PhD candidate in the Education Policy Studies Department at Pennsylvania State University. She has a bachelor of arts degree in Sociology from Geneva College, and earned a master’s of education degree in Counselor Education, Student Affairs from Clemson University. Along with her role as a PhD candidate, she is also a research assistant in the Leonhard Center for Enhancement of Engineering Education at Penn State. Her research interests include gender equity and women student persistence in engineering education, and first-generation student persistence in engineering education. Shawna has also done work related to sexual misconduct and Title IX implementation in higher education.

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Luis Roberto Delgado Jr. Pennsylvania State University

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Luis R. Delgado Jr. is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Pennsylvania State University. He has a bachelor of science in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at El Paso and earned a master of science degree in Civil Engineering with a minor in Public Policy from Penn State. Along with his role as a Ph.D., he is also a graduate research assistant at the Leonhard Center for Enhancement of Engineering Education at Penn State. His research interests are engineering education, diversity, equity, inclusion, and retention of underrepresented minority groups. Luis will research how diverse human talents contribute to our profession's social and global relevance.

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Stephanie Cutler Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Stephanie Cutler has degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, and a PhD in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. She is an Associate Research Professor and the Director of Assessment and Instructional Support in the Leonhard Center at Penn State.

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Sarah E. Zappe Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Sarah Zappe is Director of the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education and Assistant Dean of Teaching and Learning at Penn State. She holds a doctoral degree in educational psychology emphasizing applied measurement.

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Esther Gomez Pennsylvania State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-2082-013X

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Dr. Esther Gomez is an assistant professor in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Gomez's research focuses on exploring how the interplay of chemical and mechanical signals regulates cell behavior and function and the progression of disease. She is also the Co-Director of a National Science Foundation sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates program focused on the Integration of Biology and Materials in Chemical Engineering.

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Stephanie Butler Velegol Pennsylvania State University

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Stephanie Butler Velegol is a Teaching Professor in Chemical Engineering at Penn State University. She pioneered the use of Flipped classes to increase active leaning in the classroom and works on water treatment.

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Abstract

This work-in-progress paper describes the examination of women students’ sense of belonging in the Summer 2022 NSF funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in the chemical engineering department at a large, research-one university. In addition to learning technical research skills through the REU program, administrators also hoped to promote and assess a host of educational and psychosocial skills, including the interest and motivation for participating in undergraduate research, the likelihood of attending graduate school, engineering growth mindset, sense of belonging, and creative identity. To measure any potential changes in participants in these areas from before to after participating in the REU, evaluators conducted a pre- and post-survey, including both quantitative scales and qualitative interviews, for the participants. The historical gender disparity in engineering education and industry is well documented (Solomon, 1985). This work-in-progress paper will take the evaluation of the Summer REU beyond its typical reach by analyzing the survey data with reported gender data as a variable. The research question for this paper seeks to investigate if sense of belonging in the REU was experienced differently by men and women identifying students. Through the collected demographic information, the 32-participants will be divided into two groups: those who reported identifying as men, and those who reported identifying as women. Each area examined on the pre- and post-surveys will be analyzed by the additional variable of gender, with special attention given to the sense of belonging questions. The analysis of these areas will allow administrators to gauge the success of gender inclusivity through sense of belonging in the summer 2022 REU by measuring 1) which areas allowed women the highest-rate of growth, and 2) which areas provided barriers to growth for the women by showing the lowest-rate of growth from pre- to post-survey.

Workshops utilized during the REU program included an active-learning improv workshop, graphics 101, grad school 101, and a tour of the labs in a main science building on campus, among others. Qualitative feedback was gathered from the students about each of the workshops. Through analyzing the qualitative workshop feedback based on gender, the REU administrators will understand which workshops had the highest sense of belonging for women students. Through uncovering codes and categories related to women students’ sense of belonging, REU administrators will have additional information about which areas and workshops may need to be altered or enhanced for upcoming years to ensure better sense of belonging for women identifying students. By providing a more inclusive REU experience, the hope is to not only provide a clearer pathway for women to persist through the REU program and their undergraduate studies, but also help inspire interest and a sense of belonging for future graduate education. This work-in-progress paper will provide a detailed overview of the REU assessment process and initial results of the interviews and survey.

References

Solomon, B. M. (1985). In the company of educated women: A history of women and higher education in America. Yale University Press.

Dory, S., & Delgado, L. R., & Cutler, S., & Zappe, S. E., & Gomez, E., & Velegol, S. B. (2023, June), Examining Gender Inclusivity through Sense of Belonging in a Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program at a Large Research University Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--43485

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