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Literature Review on Disability Participation in the Engineering Field

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


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


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Paper Authors


Elizabeth Marie Spingola Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education

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Liz was the first person in the nation to graduate with a B.S. in Engineering Education from Ohio Northern University with a minor in Mathematics in May, 2014. In generalities, this degree acts as a general engineering degree with a concentration in Computer Science and a Mathematics Education degree with a minor in Mathematics. With this, Liz earned her 7-12 Ohio teaching license in Mathematics. Currently, she is a graduate students at Virginia Tech where she is working on completing her Masters in Data Analytics and Applied Statistics and her PhD in Engineering Education surrounding computer science design standards for cognitively disabled individuals. Liz is a Graduate Assistant for the Instructional Technology Team. She provides technical support for the engineering software used by faculty and students throughout the College of Engineering including DyKnow, OneNote, Microsoft, and Inking. Additional tasks tasks include the support and editing of website content, documentation and creation of software tutorials, teaching of support classes, and support for tablet use.

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Minority and underrepresented groups within engineering has been and still remains an increasingly studied branch of engineering education. Typically these studies focus on women, racial minorities, and, recently, the LGBTQ+ community and methodologies on how to include higher numbers of these groups within the field of engineering. However, additional minority and underrepresented groups in engineering have been researched to a lesser degree. Such groups include veterans and disabled individuals. This research systematically reviews the literature about disabled individuals’ involvement in engineering. Within this literature review, disability is classified in four different groupings: physical, intellectual/cognitive, behavioral, and psychiatric. Additionally, the participation of disabled individuals is classified into different groups including: disabled student, disabled engineer, consultant, and engineered product for disabled individuals. Further, key words pertaining to stigmatized and noninclusive words to describe the disabled community and disabled individuals have been counted and the occurrences per article are recorded. Finally, statistical tests were run to identify prevalent and emergent themes occurring when analyzing the participation of disabled individuals in the engineering field. A discussion of the results is presented along with potential reasoning as to why disabled individuals’ involvement and participation within the engineering field remained underrepresented.

Spingola, E. M. (2018, June), Literature Review on Disability Participation in the Engineering Field Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30776

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