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Intersecting Identities of Women in Engineering

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30711

Download Count

93

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Paper Authors

biography

Kelly J. Cross University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Dr. Cross completed her doctoral program in the Engineering Education department at Virginia Tech in 2015 and worked as a post-doctoral researcher with the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At UIUC she has collaborated with multiple teams of engineering faculty on implementing and assessing instructional innovation. Dr. Cross is currently a Research Scientist in the Department of Bioengineering working to redesign the curriculum through the NSF funded Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) grant. She is a member of the ASEE Leadership Virtual Community of Practice that organizes and facilitates Safe Zone Training workshops. Dr. Cross has conducted multiple workshops on managing personal bias in STEM, both online and in-person. Dr. Cross’ scholarship investigates student teams in engineering, faculty communities of practice, and the intersectionality of multiple identity dimensions. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion in STEM, intersectionality, teamwork and communication skills, assessment, and identity construction. Her teaching philosophy focuses on student centered approaches such as problem-based learning and culturally relevant pedagogy. Dr. Cross’ complimentary professional activities promote inclusive excellence through collaboration.

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Ruby Mendenhall University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Ruby Mendenhall is an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She holds joint faculty appointments in Sociology, African American Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, Social Work and Gender and Women’s Studies.. She is currently a faculty member at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and a faculty affiliate at the Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Women and Gender in Global Perspective, and Gender and the Cline Center for Democracy. She is an Assistant Dean at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. She is the recipient of the Richard and Margaret Romano Professorial Scholar for outstanding achievements in research and leadership on campus. She is also a Grand Challenge Learning Teaching Fellow in the Health Track. Mendenhall’s research focuses on racial microaggressions in higher education. She examines how living in racially segregated neighborhoods with high levels of violence affects Black mothers’ mental and physical health using qualitative, quantitative and genomic analysis. She uses big data to recover Black women’s lost history using topic modeling and data visualization to examine over 800,000 documents from 1740 to 2014. Mendenhall also does research on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

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Jennifer R. Amos University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Dr Amos joined the Bioengineering Department at the University of Illinois in 2009 and is currently a Teaching Associate Professor in Bioengineering and an Adjunct Associate Professor in Educational Psychology. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Texas Tech and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of South Carolina. She completed a Fulbright Program at Ecole Centrale de Lille in France to benchmark and help create a new hybrid masters program combining medicine and engineering and also has led multiple curricular initiative in Bioengineering and the College of Engineering on several NSF funded projects.

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Kathryn B.H. Clancy University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Dr. Kathryn Clancy is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois. Her research interests are in human reproductive ecology, particularly ovarian and endometrial function, as well as in issues of intersectionality and inclusion in science. Dr. Clancy and her collaborators have examined relationships between inflammation and ovarian function in rural agricultural and urban sedentary environments, and explored ways of non-invasively studying the endometrium in rural contexts. Recently she and her colleagues have empirically demonstrated the continued problem of sexual harassment and assault in the field sciences, including a link between these experiences and the career trajectories of female scientists. She continues to perform research on issues of inclusion, identity, and diversity in science through collaborations with GAMES, the Committee for the Status of Women in Astronomy, and other organizations.

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Princess Imoukhuede University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

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Dr. Princess Imoukhuede is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She received her S.B. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and she received her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the California Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Illinois, Dr. Imoukhuede completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research interests are at the interface of Systems Biology and Angiogenesis with applications to Breast Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease.

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Jennifer G. Cromley University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Abstract

Giving a voice to marginalized groups and understanding the double bind is critical, especially after the Charlotte, VA protests and the white supremacist discourse that has pervaded our country. The result of the discourse, more subtle beliefs about white superiority and institutional barriers is an overrepresentation of women of color (WOC) in the leaky STEM pipeline and thus the loss of their presence and expertise. The absence of WOC hinders knowledge production and innovation that is essential for societal advancements and scientific discovery.

The “chilly climate” is often cited as an explanation for the loss of WOC from STEM. However, interactions that allow the “chilly climate” to persist have yet to be characterized. This lack of understanding can inhibit the professional engineering identity construction of WOC. Additionally, engineering education research typically focuses on a single identity dimension such as gender or socio-economic status. These studies connect an identity dimension to student outcomes and few studies clarify how the identity is situated within the social context of the engineering culture. Consequently, a need exist to examine how the engineering culture impacts multiple components of identity and intersecting identities of WOC. To address this gap, our study illuminates the intersections of identity of WOC and how they perceive the double bind of race and gender within the context of their engineering education.

The data reported here are a part of a larger, sequential mixed-methods study (N=276) of undergraduate female engineering students at a large Midwestern research university. This project applies the framework of intersectionality with the following scales: Engineering Identity, Ethnic Identity, Womanist Identity, Microaggressions, and Depression. We use intersectionality to investigate the interaction between intersecting social identities and educational conditions. We introduce the Womanist Identity Attitude scale to engineering education research, which provides an efficient way to understand gender, racial, and intersecting identity development of WOC. We utilize the microaggressions scale, in order to develop quantitative measures of gender-racial discrimination in STEM and compare to previous research. We also included the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), an instrument for measuring depression, to assess health outcomes of respondents’ experiences of gender-racial microaggressions.

Our three emergent findings suggest instrument accuracy and provide insight into the identity and depression subscales. Factor analysis established a basis to refine our quantitative survey instruments, and indicated that 23 items could offer greater accuracy than the original 54 items instrument. Second, the majority of participants report a high level of identification with engineering. This result rebuffs the long-held stereotypes that females are less interested in engineering. Third, a significant portion of female respondents self-reported PHQ-9 scores in the 15-19 range, which corresponds with a “major depression, moderately severe” provisional diagnosis, the second-highest in severity in the PHQ-9 provisional diagnosis scale. These elevated levels of depression correlated significantly to frequent instances of microaggressions. These preliminary findings are providing never-before seen insight into the experiences of WOC in engineering. Our results suggest a path to accurately describe the experiences of WOC in engineering, while revealing options for improving inclusion efforts.

Cross, K. J., & Mendenhall, R., & Amos, J. R., & Clancy, K. B., & Imoukhuede, P., & Cromley, J. G. (2018, June), Intersecting Identities of Women in Engineering Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30711

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