June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Minorities in Engineering
The underrepresentation of Latinx students in engineering and computer science across the pipeline – from undergraduate studies into the profession – remains a persistent challenge. Based on 2017 NSF reports, only 10.3% of engineering and computer science degrees in the U.S. were awarded to Latinx/Hispanics from 2004-2014 . Similarly, a 2018 Pew report analyzing IPUMS data indicated that only 8% of the engineering workforce and 7% of computing, respectively, are comprised of Hispanics . The present study utilizes an intersectional lens  to explore the professional identity formation and persistence of Latinx undergraduates in Mechanical Engineer/Computer Science (ME/CS) at a public, research-intensive university located on the US-Mexico border. Drawing on one year of intensive ethnographic data collection, this paper looks at a sub-set of nine ME/CS program completers to examine the key influences shaping their decision to pursue engineering/CS. The paper adopts a sociocultural framework for understanding students’ identities and pathways into engineering/CS education, contributing to a small but growing set of studies in this area , . In particular, we draw on prior work in sociocultural identity studies in education to identify the identity resources  that help shape students’ decisions to pursue and persist in engineering. For the purposes of this paper, we focus on four of the most prominent sets of identity resources that emerged for this sub-set of students: affinity resources, aspirational resources, relational resources, and positional resources. We argue that the sociocultural focus on identity resources can provide an analytical lens for identifying and understanding elements of engineering/CS students’ academic and professional trajectories that enable or constrain their success in the major, as well as their subsequent persistence into and success in the profession. These findings, in turn, can help inform institutional recruitment and retention efforts to attract and retain Latinx in the field and profession.
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Mein, E., & Mucino, H. (2019, June), Key Sociocultural Influences Shaping Latinx Students’ Pathways to Engineering/CS: An Ethnographic Lens Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33036
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