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Native Hawaiians in Engineering: A Path to the Professoriate

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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

Perspectives on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Beyond the Undergraduate Years

Tagged Topics

Diversity and ASEE Diversity Committee

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30832

Download Count

30

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Paper Authors

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Thanh Truc Thi Nguyen University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-1606-4837

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Nguyen is a learning technologies faculty member at the Curriculum Research & Development Group in the College of Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her work in organizational change and technology is grounded in inquiry science, communities of practice, TPACK, and most recently improvement science.

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Oceana Puananilei Francis University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-6226-6208

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Scott F. Miller University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

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Scott Miller is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His teaching and research area is in materials and manufacturing, more specifically, joining of dissimilar materials and medical device design and manufacturing.

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Donna Kuehu University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

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Kapena McLean

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Joshua Lelemia Irvine University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

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Mr. Joshua Lelemia Irvine is a Native Hawaiian engineer. He is pursuing a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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Nicholas R. Izawa

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Abstract

In this paper and presentation, a research team of engineers and educators from [blind] will present early findings from a three-phase, mixed-methods study where they sought to understand the gaps in progression of Native Hawaiian students to an academic career in engineering. The study is grounded in Tinto’s integration framework and Bean’s student attrition models, in which both authors look at persistence in higher education. Tinto and Bean both suggested that students are more likely to persist in college if they are connected to both the academic as well as social life. Where both Tinto and Bean were primarily studying undergraduates, this study further explores the engineering graduate students' persistence, motivation, and the idea of connection to the Hawaiian culture. Furthermore, the study seeks to extends Bean’s work regarding higher education faculty where he suggested that intrinsic factors such as being true to self and valuing of students were essential characteristics for new faculty.

One of the most underrepresented ethnic groups in engineering may be Native Hawaiians (NH). According to the 2011 US Census, the combined working population of NHs, Pacific Islanders, and ‘Other Race’ (grouped by U.S. Census due to small sample size) represents 4.6% of the total U.S. workforce but only 1.4% of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations. This makes NHs and Pacific Islanders the most underrepresented ethnic groups in the nation in STEM employment. Additionally, the U.S. Census national data indicates that only 700 single-race NHs or other Pacific Islanders received doctoral degree in science, engineering, and health fields in 2008.

First, data are shared from a 43-item undergraduate survey administered to engineering students asking about background and preparation to pursue engineering as a major (N=168). Barriers, support systems, financial aid, and self-perception of success between NH students (n=17) and non-NH students (n=151) differences and similarities will be discussed.

Second, major themes that emerged from structured interviewed with 6 of 8 NH engineering graduate students are presented, including a sense of belonging to their chosen major, past performance in academics, and family support, important factors for degree completion in underrepresented groups such as Hawaiians, Filipinos, African-American and Blacks Hispanics, and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Third, a short description of a six-workshop series called A‘o in Engineering and research and teaching opportunities designed to support interested senior and graduate engineering students (N=20) will follow.

The authors end with a proposed education model to increase NH career interest in the engineering professoriate.

Nguyen, T. T. T., & Francis, O. P., & Miller, S. F., & Kuehu, D., & McLean, K., & Irvine, J. L., & Izawa, N. R. (2018, June), Native Hawaiians in Engineering: A Path to the Professoriate Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30832

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