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Exploring Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Engineering Undergraduate Experiences through Autoethnography

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Conference

2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity

Location

Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 14, 2019

Start Date

April 14, 2019

End Date

April 22, 2019

Conference Session

Track: Special Topic - Identity Technical Session 10

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Special Topic: Identity

Page Count

21

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31764

Download Count

67

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Paper Authors

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Andrea Haverkamp Oregon State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0075-2109

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Andrea Haverkamp is a doctoral candidate in Environmental Engineering. She is also a student in the Queer Studies Ph.D. minor within the department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Andrea’s research interests include broadening participation in engineering, feminist research methods, and engineering ethics. Her dissertation research project studies gender dynamics in engineering education informed by queer theory and collaborative community methodologies.

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Ava Butler Oregon State University

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Ava is a sophomore in mechanical engineering at Oregon State University. She is a well regarded transgender activist & leftist organizer in Corvallis, Oregon. Her research is in water desalinization in low infrastructure areas.

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Naya Selene Pelzl

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Naya is a member of the greater Oregon State University community. She is currently taking a leave of absence from her undergraduate program. She has completed three years of undergraduate studies towards a B.S. in Computer Science.

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Michelle Kay Bothwell Oregon State University

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Michelle Bothwell is an Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Oregon State University. Her teaching and research bridge ethics, social justice and engineering with the aim of cultivating an inclusive and socially just engineering profession.

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Devlin Montfort Oregon State University

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Dr. Montfort is an Assistant Professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University

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Qwo-Li Driskill Oregon State University

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Qwo-Li Driskill is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University. They hold a PhD in Rhetoric & Writing from Michigan State University.

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Abstract

Undergraduate programs in engineering are demanding, time consuming, and inherently social endeavors for young adults. Strong social support networks and communities which foster success are frequently found to increase student retention and perseverance through their engineering degree programs. Students with marginalized identities in higher education are met with additional workloads – managing their social identity, negotiating stereotypes, and finding belonging. Existing research shows that a student’s experience in in higher education is particularly shaped by gender interactions. This has been shown to be particularly true in engineering, whose gender demographics and professional culture is described as hegemonically masculine. Research on gender in engineering has typically framed gender within a rigid, essentialized cisgender binary. Current literature is lacking detail on the processes used by gender diverse students in the transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) community as they navigate the gendered engineering field. We wish to highlight the experiences that undergraduate engineering students have had in relation to their social support and perceptions of gender as it relates to engineering culture within their undergraduate programs. Two students participated in autoethnography as a method of data collection to meet this objective. Collaborative autoethnographic methods position the students as coauthors and coresearchers to ensure the validity of analysis alongside the project’s primary investigators. Using a resiliency framework and critical autoethnographic analysis, the primary focus is on the ways these students have formed support systems and their perception of the social landscape in engineering. Through exploring how students persevere through their programs we may uncover points of intervention to strengthen these support systems.

Haverkamp, A., & Butler, A., & Pelzl, N. S., & Bothwell, M. K., & Montfort, D., & Driskill, Q. (2019, April), Exploring Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Engineering Undergraduate Experiences through Autoethnography Paper presented at 2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity , Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/31764

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