Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
As the need for civil engineers continues to grow, so too does the need to broaden participation and increase diversity in the field. While researchers in civil engineering (CE) education have identified the need for more intentional recruitment and retention of women and people of color in the civil engineering field, few studies have considered disability status in these contexts. To address this gap in the literature and enhance the recruitment and retention of minoritized groups in civil engineering, we explore the intersections of gender and disability in civil engineering to better understand why individuals choose to leave the discipline. We focus our discussion on the experiences of Sammie, Shawn, and Natalie, three white women who identify as having disabilities and are no longer enrolled in CE programs. As part of a larger, longitudinal study examining the professional identity formation of undergraduate CE students with disabilities, semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant and analyzed using open and focused grounded theory coding techniques. Findings revealed four overarching themes that capture participants’ pathways out of civil engineering: 1) experiencing conflicts with dominant CE culture; 2) encountering barriers within the CE curriculum; 3) navigating intersecting stereotypes and compounding marginalization; and 4) leaving while remaining peripherally identified with the CE discipline. While participants’ identification with the discipline were altered, they were not eliminated; in leaving, all participants chose to pursue careers that are peripherally related to CE. These findings point to potential strategies and opportunities for supporting students who may leave the major, but do not intend to leave the profession altogether and highlight the cross-functionality of engineering workplaces not always acknowledged in academia. Overall, this work contributes to ongoing efforts to intentionally lower and remove barriers that serve to marginalize any group in civil engineering education and engineering education, broadly.
McCall, C. J., & Paretti, M. C., & McNair, L. D., & Shew, A., & Simmons, D. R., & Zongrone, C. (2020, June), Leaving Civil Engineering: Examining the Intersections of Gender, Disability, and Professional Identity Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34906
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