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Hashtag #ThinkBigDiversity: Social Media Hacking Activities as Hybridized Mentoring Mechanisms for Underrepresented Minorities in STEM

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

21

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28430

Download Count

73

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Paper Authors

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Renetta G. Tull University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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Dr. 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). She is also on detail with the University System of Maryland (USM), where she is Special Assistant to the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Director of Pipeline Professional Programs for the system’s 12 academic institutions. 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), and Co-PI for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and Bridge to the Doctorate programs for the USM. Dr. Tull serves on a number of boards for women and diversity in STEM initiatives throughout the US and in Latin America. She is an active member of the Latin and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions (LACCEI), and co-leads the "Women in STEM" initiatives for the organization. As a former professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her engineering and speech science research covered topics of accessibility. Her current research in Maryland looks at intersections of social science theories, STEM equity, and physics. She was a “Cover Girl” for O’Reilly Media’s “Women in Data” issue in 2015, a finalist for the 2015 Global Engineering Deans Council/Airbus Diversity Award, Sci Chic/Medium.com 35 “Women STEM on Social Media Stars” (July 1, 2016), and 2016 winner of the Claire Felbinger Award for Diversity from ABET. She is a Tau Beta Pi “Eminent Engineer,” and can be found online @Renetta_Tull and https://renettatull.wordpress.com/.

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Autumn Marie Reed University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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Dr. Autumn M. Reed is Program Coordinator for ADVANCE Faculty Diversity Initiatives. In this role Dr. Reed develops educational-awareness programming and initiatives, maintains a clearing house of resources on faculty diversity equity issues, collects and reports data, coordinates program evaluation efforts, and provides support for the Executive Committee on the Recruitment, Retention and Advancement of Underrepresented Minority Faculty, the ADVANCE Executive Committee, and the UMBC Postdoctoral Fellows Program for Faculty Diversity. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and specializes in intercultural and gender communication, and implicit bias, as they relate to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of underrepresented minority faculty.

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Pamela Petrease Felder University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

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Dr. Felder’s research focuses on the racial and cultural experiences associated with doctoral degree attainment. She is committed to enhancing models of doctoral student socialization. She believes that an understanding of the doctorate has tremendous implications for learning and/or addressing many areas of higher education that have been viewed historically as problematic. The foremost concern in her research is the discussion of inequity in access in postsecondary education. Thus, her work not only examines the statistical trends of doctoral degree attainment, it also explores predoctoral and postdoctoral degree experiences to shed light on the socialization aspects of students who enter doctoral study and the disciplinary identities of doctoral degree holders as they begin to engage in their professions.

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Shawnisha Hester LGSW University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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Shawnisha S. Hester is an Evaluation and Assessment Coordinator. She earned both her BA in Psychology and MA in Applied Sociology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She went on to complete her MSW from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Her research interests focus on using qualitative research methods that measure various phenomena and making connections via an interdisciplinary approach, qualitative evaluation and assessment measurements, increasing the number of minorities in STEM fields, and program development at the graduate level. She has had the opportunity to present at a regional and national conference and she has conducted research internationally. In addition, Ms. Hester is a licensed graduate social worker (LGSW) in the state of Maryland and provides outpatient mental health treatment to members in underserved communities. Contact information: shawnisha@gmail.com

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Denise Nicole Williams University of Maryland, Baltimore County Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6314-2052

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Denise N. Williams is a Chemistry Ph.D graduate student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Her research studies the synthesis, characterization, environmental impact, and human health impact of optically quantum dots. Denise is currently a National Science Foundation AGEP Fellow, a Meyerhoff Graduate Fellow, and a research member of the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. Prior to her time at UMBC, Denise earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science from the University of New Haven in West Haven, Connecticut in May 2015. Contact information: dwill3@umbc.edu.

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Yarazeth Medina University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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Yarazeth Medina is a USM PROMISE AGEP Program Coordinator 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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Amanda Lo University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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I am a current Master's student in the Biological Sciences Department of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I work in Dr. Jeff Leips' research laboratory where I spend my time researching about genes that affect the immune system across age. I also work as a graduate assistant for both Maryland's PROMISE AGEP and the Campus-Wide Career-Life Balance Initiative at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. For my graduate assistantship, responsibilities that I have include, but are not limited to: organizing and staffing professional development workshops, conducting qualitative analysis on career-life balance events, archiving attendees demographics for each event, maintaining and updating websites, and presenting our work and findings at conferences.

My main website is: amandalo.weebly.com

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Erika T. Aparaka University of Maryland College Park

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Erika Aparaka is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maryland College Park.

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Patricia Ordonez University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras

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Abstract

In the spirit of “hack-a-thons” that build solutions, we leveraged resources from NSF Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), ADVANCE, and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Bridge to the Doctorate programs to co-develop “hacking diversity in STEM” events for underrepresented groups (URG) in STEM. These activities were carried out at STEM conferences, serving participants who were at the conference, as well as external viewers online. The events included “hacking challenges” and solicited responses to issues experienced by distinct levels of participants: incoming graduate students, continuing graduate students, postdocs, and faculty. The 2015 and 2016 hacking activities, resulted in thousands of responses across social media platforms, and our activity-specific hashtag was a trending topic. Assistance from a leading academic media laboratory, and other national hackathons, influenced the activity’s structure. The activity for students served as a hacking “intervention” to improve underrepresented graduate students’ perception of sense of community, and retention at both the course level and dissertation stages. The sessions for postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and administrators looked at issues that hindered career advancement. The crowd-sourcing, dynamic activities engaged URG STEM mentors who served as coaches in-person and online. A content analysis of the student data showed that broad themes included tackling student isolation, issues of time management, managing expectations of family members, understanding expectations of academic advisors, and success strategies for completing the dissertation. The sessions for faculty and professionals yielded suggestions for professional advancement, and solutions to issues affecting career-life balance. As an example, the career-life balance activity for women in engineering was carried out over Twitter with a 2-hour international discussion session online that preceded a two-hour in-person conference session at an engineering conference. This session with women in engineering as the lead coaches online, yielded the following themes: attention to stress triggers, ways to achieve balance, and professional efficiency. The most important outcomes were part of the in-person discussion that grew out of the online discussion two-hours prior, where Latina and African-American women engineers within positions of power discussed ways that they were challenging norms to develop new professional structures to improve strategies for younger women and others from other underrepresented groups. These structures included developing career-development groups to work on materials to advance careers, influencing family leave policies, and deciding to verbally champion issues that affect students and peers in faculty and higher-level academic administrative meetings. This paper will share ways that these structured social media hacking activities, designed for mentoring and coupled with in-person connections, have leveraged social science theories of sense of belonging and building cultural wealth. Further, these hybridized hacking activities, deliberately designed to mentor underrepresented groups in STEM, access a virtual form of Oldenburg’s (2001) “third place” which layers progress within the alternative space of the hacking activity (purposely located away from the academic institution.) This paper will show results from content analysis of responses with our activity-specific hashtag, and will suggest ways to develop similar, impactful activities to mentor and retain underrepresented groups in STEM.

Tull, R. G., & Reed, A. M., & Felder, P. P., & Hester, S., & Williams, D. N., & Medina, Y., & Lo, A., & Aparaka, E. T., & Ordonez, P. (2017, June), Hashtag #ThinkBigDiversity: Social Media Hacking Activities as Hybridized Mentoring Mechanisms for Underrepresented Minorities in STEM Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28430

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