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Factoring Family Considerations into Female Faculty Choices for International Engagement in Engineering, IT, and Computer Science

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division: Retaining and Developing Women Faculty in STEM

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.756.1 - 26.756.20



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Paper Authors


Quincy Brown American Association for the Advancement of Science

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Dr. Quincy Brown is AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow and an Assistant Professor in the Computer Department at Bowie State University. She is a 2009 recipient of the National Science Foundation/Computing Community Consortium CI Fellows Postdoctoral Research Fellowship award. She completed her doctoral work at Drexel University where she was a National Science Foundation GK-12 and Bridges To the Doctorate Fellow. As a GK-12 Fellow she taught and developed STEM curricula for middle school students.
Through her research she seeks to identify methods of facilitating human interaction with advanced technologies, including mobile devices, to support learning. Specifically, her ongoing projects examine the design of intelligent tutoring systems, delivered on mobile devices, to support middle school mathematics learning and exploring the design and usability aspects of mobile device use by children.

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Renetta G. Tull University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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Renetta Garrison Tull is Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Student Professional Development & Postdoctoral Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC: An Honors University in Maryland), where she is the Co-PI and Founding Director for the National Science Foundation’s PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) for the 12 institutions in the University System of Maryland, and Co-PI Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Bridge to the Doctorate at UMBC. Dr. Tull has worked with thousands of students from Alaska to Puerto Rico, and in Latin America through graduate school preparation workshops that have been sponsored by The National GEM Consortium, National Society of Black Engineers, Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers, Society for the Advancement of Chicano, and Native American Scientists, American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and the Alliance/Merck Ciencia Hispanic Scholars Program. She has presented workshops on graduate school admissions, “The Success Equation,” STEM initiatives, and PhD Completion in Panama, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and schools across the United States. Tull is on the board of advisors for the PNW-COSMOS Alliance to increase the number of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students who complete STEM graduate programs, and is a speaker on “GRADLab” tour with the National GEM Consortium, giving talks across the US each Saturday morning during the Fall. Tull researched speech technology as former member of the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has co-authored several publications on achievement in STEM fields, and is a mentoring consultant for Purdue, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, and MIT. She co-leads the “ADVANCE Hispanic Women in STEM” project in Puerto Rico, and the Latin and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions’ (LACCEI) “Women in STEM” forum. Tull is a Tau Beta Pi “Eminent Engineer.”

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Lourdes A. Medina University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez

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Dr. Lourdes A. Medina earned her B.S. in Industrial Engineering in 2006 from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and obtained the highest recognitions in the graduation commencements: Luis Stefani Rafucci Award, College of Engineering Award and Frederick M. Taylor Industrial Engineering Award. In 2007, she was admitted at The Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University, where she received her M.S. degree in Industrial Engineering in 2009 and Ph.D. degree in Industrial Engineering in 2012. While at The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Medina is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez in the Department of Industrial Engineering. She teaches courses in Automation Processes, Project Management and Linear Programming; and is conducting research in the areas of Systems and Product Design Methods, Medical Devices, Regulations, Complexity Assessment, Decision Support Systems, Manufacturing, Automation, Real-Time Process Control and Engineering Education. Dr. Medina is the IⱭDEAS (Improving Design Decisions in Engineering and Applied Systems) Research Group Leader. This group is dedicated to innovating the development process of products and processes. Dr. Medina has been the recipient of several fellowships such as the GEM Ph.D. Engineering Fellowship, NASA Harriet Jenkins Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Dissertation Fellowship, Graham Endowed Fellowship, Marie Underhill Noll Graduate Fellowship, and General Electric Fellowship, while also becoming a scholar of the Center for Integrated Health Delivery Systems at Penn State. She is member of Alpha Pi Mu Industrial Engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi Engineering honor society, and Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). Currently, she holds the position of Media Director of the Manufacturing and Design Division of IIE and track co-chair of the education track for 2015 Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference (ISERC).

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Michelle Beadle Holder University of Maryland, College Park

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Michelle Beadle Holder is a Ph.D. Candidate in the sociology department at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research uses intersectionality as an analytical framework to examine the role that African American women and African American men play in addressing health disparities in their church and community.

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Yarazeth Medina University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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Yarazeth Medina is a USM PROMISE AGEP Program Assistant for Graduate Student Development and Postdoctoral Affairs. She earned her BA in Accounting from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC) in Mexico. She has over 5 years of experience as a Financial Auditor for the Mexican Congress. She has had the opportunity to participate as part of the PROMISE community to enhance the preparation of graduate and postdoctoral fellows in STEM. Her research interests focus on bridging the disparity of availability of information that improves programs that enforce participation in STEM careers.

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Factoring Family Considerations into Female Faculty Choices for International Engagement in Engineering, IT, and Computer ScienceIn the 21th century, participation in the global economy is a necessity for a successful science orengineering career. Advances in cyberinfrastructure and telecommunication have enhanced theability of faculty and students to engage in transnational scholarship. However, as internationalcollaborations in research continue to increase, it is important to consider how such changes mayinfluence the diversity of the STEM workforce. The globalization of research activity coupledwith the understanding of the importance of a diverse STEM workforce promotes the need tosupport diverse groups of researchers engaging in international collaborations.In this paper, we describe the results of a National Science Foundation project focused onexploring international engagement through the experiences of 15 women faculty and graduatestudents from underrepresented, minority backgrounds. The analysis utilizes a constructivist,hybrid study that paired focus group responses with those generated in an online communityduring an international engineering conference. Participants from the online community provided188 qualitative responses to a series of questions such as “Is there a research benefit to meetingsomeone in person versus using technology to connect?,” and “How did this internationalengagement experience influence your career strategies?”Responses included concerns that are common among women: missing family, finding the timeto travel, and balancing family concerns during the travel (e.g., child-care), course loads,research responsibilities, and financial barriers. However, the discussion included additionalchallenges such as acceptance in an environment where their skin color is completely differentfrom that of the people in the region, and concerns about language or overall communicationbarriers. Responses from the participants suggest that inspiring a culture of internationalengagement among women faculty of color should start early, as undergraduate or graduatestudents. Early training can tackle potential fears of the unknown, increase language skills, andaddress other intercultural competencies. We analyze the concerns, challenges, and barriers tointernational engagement based upon four areas: personal, institutional, external, andsociocultural. The transtheoretical model of change (Prochaska and Velicer, 1997) identifies sixstages that we further examine in the effort to make international engagement more attractive andaccessible for women of color faculty in engineering, computer science, and IT. We adopt thismodel because it includes constructs for producing progress within the context of decision-making, self-efficacy, and temptations. Given that promising practices from the research includeinteractive intervention, our approach to introducing women of color to international engagementwas to involve them in an international engineering conference that included sessions relevant totheir disciplines, a special forum on “Women in STEM,” and cultural activities within the hostcountry. Providing a funded and guided opportunity for global research and collaboration wasimportant for women of color. The participants agreed that this experience was a goodintroduction to, as well as preparation for, international collaborations that can lead to academicadvancement. We propose this model as a potential, replicable solution for addressing the currentlack of participation of women of color in STEM international activities.

Brown, Q., & Tull, R. G., & Medina, L. A., & Holder, M. B., & Medina, Y. (2015, June), Factoring Family Considerations into Female Faculty Choices for International Engagement in Engineering, IT, and Computer Science Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24093

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