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Examining Women STEM Faculty’s Participation in Entrepreneurship Programming

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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

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Prateek Shekhar New Jersey Institute of Technology


Aileen Huang-Saad Northeastern University

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Dr. Huang-Saad is an Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Northeastern University and the Director of Life Sciences and Engineering Programs at Northeastern's Roux Institute in Portland, Maine. Dr. Huang-Saad is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Springer’s Biomedical Engineering Education and Division Chair for the American Society of Engineering Education’s Biomedical Engineering Division. Dr. Huang-Saad’s current research areas are entrepreneurship, innovation, and transforming higher education. She is funded by the NSF to explore the influence of the microenvironment of entrepreneurship education on minoritized populations, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and fostering graduate student professional development.

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Aida Lopez Ruiz New Jersey Institute of Technology


Jacqueline Handley University of Michigan

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Jacqueline (Jacquie) Handley (she/they) is a Postdoctoral Scholar at NJIT and an incoming Visiting Assitant Professor at Purdue University. Trained as an engineer, and having completed a Ph.D. in science education, Jacquie wants engineering to be a place that is accessible, celebratory, and just for all. Jacquie's research looks at engineering as community work, how young people come to know and do engineering, and how people of all ages use engineering for activism.

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The past decade has seen a rise in academic interest in innovation and entrepreneurship in STEM fields. Given its economic impact, fostering STEM innovation through entrepreneurship programming is increasingly becoming a requisite in higher education. The resultant rapid, wide-scale adoption of entrepreneurship programming signals the STEM community’s acceptance of it as a means of fostering academic innovation [1]. This growth presents an opportunity to broaden our understanding of entrepreneurship initiatives, specifically from a diversity and inclusion perspective. As broadening participation and addressing inequity remains a paramount concern within the broader academic STEM community [2], exploring diverse faculties' participation in entrepreneurship education programs (EEPs) is a critical area needing theoretical and research attention. This research is imperative to assure that a broader STEM faculty population reaps the benefits of entrepreneurship education programs (EEPs) given the growing interest and resources associated with these programs.

To contribute to this research direction, our study examines women STEM faculty’s participation and nonparticipation in entrepreneurship programming through in-depth interviewing [3]. We interviewed a total of 32 self-identified women faculty, including 16 EEP participants and 16 EEP non-participants. Within the participant and non-participant groups, we purposively recruited a racially and ethnically diverse sample. Particularly, within the groups, similar (if not equal) representation was achieved across four racial and ethnic identities: Black, Latina, Asian, and White. We also strove for maximum variation to ensure the participants were from different STEM disciplines (including, but not limited to: colleges of engineering, natural sciences, or mathematics) [4]. Two research questions drive our work:

1) Why do Women STEM faculty choose to engage or not engage in EEPs? 2) How do these reasons differ with the intersection of race?

Findings from this in-depth, qualitative analysis illuminate patterns around women faculty choosing (or not) to engage in EEPs, and challenges and concerns relating to their personal experiences and social identities. Results also provide actionable guidance to EEP stakeholders for promoting the participation of women STEM faculty, particularly by unpacking evidence-based strategies for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in EEPs. The purpose of our work is to leverage research and theoretical constructs in entrepreneurship assessment and education literature [5] to explore ways to foster a larger, more diverse community of entrepreneurially-minded, innovative STEM faculty by broadening participation in EEPs to women.

Shekhar, P., & Huang-Saad, A., & Lopez Ruiz, A., & Handley, J. (2022, August), Examining Women STEM Faculty’s Participation in Entrepreneurship Programming Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--42030

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