June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.952.1 - 22.952.17
Intersecting Cultural Images: Transformative Global Research Experiences for Underrepresented Engineering Students The International Research and Education in Engineering (IREE) program was initiated by theNational Science Foundation (ENG/EEC) in 2006 to promote enhancement of globalcompetency of 21st century engineering professionals, development of collaborations withengineering researchers abroad, and providing students with opportunities to experience the lifeand culture of another country. IREE also seeks to enhance U.S. innovation in both research andeducation, as well as enable connections between the research programs of NSF's divisions withthe education of students. Funded by NSF and administered by Purdue University, the IREE2010 China program sent 58 U.S. engineering students to China for intensive 10 to 12 weekresearch experiences in university and industry laboratories. Women and minorities studentscomprised 51.7 percent of the selected IREE participants. These underrepresented studentgroups in engineering are widely recognized and researched within the United States. As theyparticipate in their IREE experience, their needs and issues were solicited through one-on-oneinterviews and focus group discussions. This paper presents the qualitative data and results bydelineating the challenges and opportunities faced by underrepresented engineering studentsconducting international research and education in China.This paper presents selected data from focus groups and interviews of five different studentpopulations: (1) Women, (2) Asian Americans, (3) African Americans, (4) Hispanics, and (5)International students. Preliminary data analysis reveals some of the unique issues faced by eachstudent population, as well as various cultural images encountered inside and outside of variouscultural boundaries. For example, African American and Hispanic students receive little supportfrom family members due to stereotypes and a lack of familiarity about China, whereas familymembers of Asian Americans generally favor students “returning to their cultural roots.”Another preliminary finding reveals that female IREE students are often questioned andchallenged by Chinese social norms such as marriage and child-bearing, while their views onresearch may not carry equal weight in their host laboratories, especially as compared to theirmale counterparts. This study also discusses the advantages of including second-generationChinese (Asian American) students to have opportunities and receive funding for globaleducational experiences in China. First, they are optimally positioned to serve as bridgesbetween the American and Chinese research communities. Second, they are able to engage theirfellow IREE participants in social settings, as well as helping their peers to overcome majorlanguage and cultural barriers.The results presented in this paper will help program administrators and funding agenciesdetermine how to better relate to the needs of underrepresented student populations in globalengineering programs. Moreover, the results of this study will provide insights to federal fundingagencies about optimal strategies for determining student eligibilities. The paper concludes witha series of best practice recommendations and lessons learned, many of which are relevant forfaculty and staff involved with engaging underrepresented engineering students in globaleducational experiences.
Chang, Y., & Lin, J. J., & Thompson, J. D., & Shen, Y., & Jesiek, B. K., & Groll, E. A., & Hirleman, E. D. (2011, June), Intersecting Cultural Images: Transformative Global Research Experiences for Underrepresented Engineering Students Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18154
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