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Experiencing Disability in Undergraduate Civil Engineering Education: An Initial Examination of the Intersection of Disability and Professional Identities

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Conference

2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference

Location

Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 29, 2018

Start Date

April 29, 2018

End Date

May 2, 2018

Conference Session

Disability Track - Technical Session IV

Tagged Topic

Disability

Page Count

14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29536

Download Count

97

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Paper Authors

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Cassandra J. Groen Virginia Tech

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Dr. Cassandra Groen is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Engineering Education and the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech. Her primary research interests include professional identity formation in undergraduate civil engineering students, grounded theory methods, and theory development. Her current work includes the exploration of professional identity formation in civil engineering students who experience disabilities and the ways in which this identity is influenced by students’ academic relationships, events, and experiences. Dr. Groen holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

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Marie C. Paretti Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2202-6928

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Marie C. Paretti is a Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she co-directs the Virginia Tech Engineering Communications Center (VTECC). Her research focuses on communication in engineering design, interdisciplinary communication and collaboration, design education, and gender in engineering. She was awarded a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to study expert teaching in capstone design courses and is co-PI on numerous NSF grants exploring communication, design, and identity in engineering. Drawing on theories of situated learning and identity development, her work includes studies on the teaching and learning of communication, effective teaching practices in design education, the effects of differing design pedagogies on retention and motivation, the dynamics of cross-disciplinary collaboration in both academic and industry design environments, and gender and identity in engineering.

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Lisa D. McNair Virginia Tech

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Lisa D. McNair is a Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she also serves as Director of the Center for Research in SEAD Education at the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT). Her research interests include interdisciplinary collaboration, design education, communication studies, identity theory, and reflective practice. Projects supported by the National Science Foundation include exploring disciplines as cultures, liberatory maker spaces, and a RED grant to increase pathways in ECE for the professional formation of engineers.

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Denise Rutledge Simmons P.E. Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-3401-2048

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Denise R. Simmons, Ph.D., PE, LEED-AP, is an assistant professor in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction and in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and an affiliate faculty of the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in civil engineering and a graduate certificate in engineering education – all from Clemson University. She has over 14 years of experience working for energy companies and as a project management consultant. Her research contributes to the advancement of labor and personnel issues in engineering broadly and specifically in the construction industry through two research areas: untangling the complex relationship between activities people become involved in — operationalized as engagement — and the technical and professional outcomes gained — operationalized as competencies. The broader impact of this work lies in achieving and sustaining productive, diverse and inclusive project organizations composed of engaged, competent people. Dr. Simmons’ research is supported by awards from NSF, including a CAREER award. She oversees the Simmons Research Lab (www.denisersimmons.com), which is home to a dynamic, interdisciplinary mix of undergraduate and graduate students and a post-doctoral researcher from various colleges and departments at Virginia Tech who work together to explore engineering and construction human-centered issues with an emphasis on understanding difference and disparity.

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Ashley Shew Virginia Tech

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Abstract

While recent calls throughout the engineering education community have focused on increasing diversity and broadening participation in STEM, these conversations typically center on race and gender with little to no work addressing disability. But research in higher education broadly suggests that cognitive, physical, and learning disabilities can markedly impact the ways in which students perceive and experience school, develop professional identities, and move into the engineering workforce. To address this gap, we build on emerging conversations that explore the ways in which students experience disability within the context of engineering education. In particular, we conducted an initial grounded theory analysis of interviews examining professional identity formation in undergraduate civil engineering students who experience disabilities. From our analysis, we observed three themes that begin to highlight ways in which the experience of students with disabilities may contribute to their development as emerging civil engineers.

Groen, C. J., & Paretti, M. C., & McNair, L. D., & Simmons, D. R., & Shew, A. (2018, April), Experiencing Disability in Undergraduate Civil Engineering Education: An Initial Examination of the Intersection of Disability and Professional Identities Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29536

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