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Geographical Inequities in Accessing Engineering and Computer Science: A State-wide Analysis of Undergraduate Enrollments Across High Schools

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Conference

2021 CoNECD

Location

Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day

Publication Date

January 24, 2021

Start Date

January 24, 2021

End Date

January 28, 2021

Conference Session

CoNECD Session : Day 1 Slot 7 Technical Session 4

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Submissions

Page Count

39

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36093

Download Count

14

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Paper Authors

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David B. Knight Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4576-2490

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David B. Knight is an Associate Professor and Assistant Department Head of Graduate Programs in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He is also Director of Research of the Academy for Global Engineering at Virginia Tech, and is affiliate faculty with the Higher Education Program. His research tends to be at the macro-scale, focused on a systems-level perspective of how engineering education can become more effective, efficient, and inclusive, tends to be data-driven by leveraging large-scale institutional, state, or national data sets, and considers the intersection between policy and organizational contexts. He has B.S., M.S., and M.U.E.P. degrees from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Pennsylvania State University.

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Jacob R. Grohs Virginia Tech

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Jacob Grohs is an Assistant Professor in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech with Affiliate Faculty status in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics and the Learning Sciences and Technologies at Virginia Tech. He holds degrees in Engineering Mechanics (BS, MS) and in Educational Psychology (MAEd, PhD).

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Holly M. Matusovich Virginia Tech

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Dr. Holly M. Matusovich is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education. She is current the Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate Programs and the former Assistant Department Head for Graduate Programs in Virginia Tech’s Department of Engineering Education. Dr. Matusovich is recognized for her research and practice related to graduate student mentoring. She won the Hokie Supervisor Spotlight Award in 2014, was nominated for a Graduate Advising Award in 2015, and won the 2018 Graduate Student Mentor Award for the College of Engineering. Dr. Matusovich has graduated 10 doctoral students since starting her research program in Spring 2009. Dr. Matusovich co-hosts the Dissertation Institute, a one-week workshop each summer funded by NSF, to help underrepresented students develop the skills and writing habits to complete doctorate degrees in engineering. Across all of her research avenues, Dr. Matusovich has been a PI/Co-PI on 12 funded research projects including the NSF CAREER Award with her share of funding be ingnearly $2.3 million. She has co-authored 2 book chapters, 21 journal publications and more than 70 conference papers. She has won several Virginia Tech awards including a Dean’s Award for Outstanding New Faculty, an Outstanding Teacher Award and a Faculty Fellow Award. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University, an M.S. in Materials Science from the University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University.

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Isabel S Bradburn Virginia Tech

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Isabel Bradburn studies contexts of development and STEM education.

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Cheryl Carrico P.E. E4S, LLC Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-6327-842X

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Cheryl Carrico is owner of E4S, LLC. Her current research focus relates to STEM career pathways (K-12 through early career) and conceptual understanding of core engineering principles. She is currently a Member-at-Large for the Pre-college Division of ASEE. Dr. Carrico's consulting company specializes in research, research evaluations, and industry consulting. Dr. Carrico received her B.S. in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech, Masters of Engineering from North Carolina State University, MBA from King University, and PhD in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Dr. Carrico is a certified project management professional (PMP) and licensed professional engineer (P.E.).

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Kai Jun Chew Virginia Tech

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Kai Jun (KJ) Chew is a PhD student in the Virginia Tech Engineering Education department. His research interests lie in the domains of assessment and evaluation, student learning, student motivation, and the intersections and interactions among the domains.

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Michelle D. Klopfer Virginia Tech

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Abstract

Despite continued investments in recruitment and outreach initiatives, undergraduate engineering still lacks representation from broad segments of the population, some of which are among the fastest growing demographics in the United States. As Walter Lee recently argued in his Journal of Engineering Education editorial on the use of metaphors within the broadening participation literature, when an education or work system is the aim of an inquiry, a pipeline paradigm is an appropriate grounding because it demonstrates “ways in which participants are acted upon by a surrounding system and have little agency to change their course” (Lee , 2018, p. 10). Our investigation focuses at the macro-scale and investigates broad inequities in access to engineering, recognizing there are many variables that do not occur randomly but rather are systematically interconnected with one another.

Students’ high school contexts (representing a system) theoretically should relate to their academic major choice, but little research has focused on this connection. Thinking holistically at a high school level in a systems analysis combines variables, such as course offerings, extra-curricular activities, peer environment, and access to well-informed guidance counselors and teachers, that influence how students prepare for college. Using a state longitudinal data system, in this session we will take a macroscopic, systems view of one state’s population of high school-to-postsecondary students to understand variation in how graduating students enroll in engineering across each public high school. We will explore how that engineering enrollment rate varies across high schools for different demographic characteristics, including sex, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. At its core, this paper illuminates inequality in enrollment in engineering programs at four-year institutions across high schools and depicts how variables systematically related to high school context or geography (i.e., place-based characteristics) can act in combination to impose a restrictive pipeline on access. Specifically, our session will address the following research questions:

RQ1: What is the geographic variation in four-year undergraduate engineering enrollment across Virginia’s high schools as a function of sex, race/ethnicity, and economically disadvantaged status? RQ2: What is the relationship between characteristics of the high school and community contexts and undergraduate engineering enrollment across Virginia’s high schools?

The session will aim to use project data to spur conversations among attendees about systemically linked variables related to broadening participation that can be tied to high schools. We will provide evidence to support two main messages:

1) Taking a macro-scale, systemic perspective to educational research is important for understanding pressing issues related to broadening participation in engineering and computer science.

2) If we want the system to change, we believe the field needs to move beyond “just” research—we should work with appropriate stakeholders to identify pragmatic implementation ideas based on that research.

Knight, D. B., & Grohs, J. R., & Matusovich, H. M., & Bradburn, I. S., & Carrico, C., & Chew, K. J., & Klopfer, M. D. (2021, January), Geographical Inequities in Accessing Engineering and Computer Science: A State-wide Analysis of Undergraduate Enrollments Across High Schools Paper presented at 2021 CoNECD, Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day . https://peer.asee.org/36093

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