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Preliminary Findings of a Phenomenological Study of Middle Eastern Women’s Experiences Studying Engineering in Ireland

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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

Understanding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Students' Perspectives

Tagged Topics

Diversity and ASEE Diversity Committee

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Paper Authors


Shannon Massie Chance University College London & Dublin Institute of Technology

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Prof. Shannon Chance is a licensed architect with 18 years of experience teaching three major subjects: architecture (at Virginia Tech and Hampton University, where she was Professor of Architecture), education (at William and Mary University), and engineering (at Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland where she serves as Lecturer in the School of Multidisciplinary Technologies). Alongside teaching, Shannon earned a PhD in higher education in 2010 and developed a focus on engineering education research through a Fulbright Fellowship and two Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellowships. She is now completing the second of these, working at University College London's Centre for Engineering Education.

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Bill Williams Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal Orcid 16x16

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Bill Williams originally trained as a chemist at the National University of Ireland and went on to work in education in Ireland, UK, Eritrea, Kenya, Mozambique and Portugal.
He is Emeritus Professor at the Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal, Portugal and and is a member of the CEG-IST, Universidade de Lisboa research centre.

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This phenomenological study investigates the experiences of eight women from Kuwait and Oman who, in 2014, started a four-year Bachelor of Engineering program together at a large public institution of higher education in Ireland. Of the eight, seven were still enrolled in 2018 and were in their fourth year studying at the university-level. Although one participant had returned to her home country to complete a degree in teaching English, the seven others were on-track to earn degrees in engineering. Over the course of four years we have conducted 20 interviews with these eight students. In this paper we report results and findings related to the first 13 of these interviews, conducted first- through third-year.

As education researchers, we aim to understand the essence of the experience these women have had studying engineering. We want to understand what it is like to study engineering in Ireland as female from the Middle East. What aspects of the experience are shared across all the Middle Eastern women in the course? What specific challenges, barriers, sources of inspiration and support do these women experience? Which behaviors of friends, teammates, and teachers help these students in learning, and which hinder them?

Chance, S. M., & Williams, B. (2018, June), Preliminary Findings of a Phenomenological Study of Middle Eastern Women’s Experiences Studying Engineering in Ireland Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30882

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