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Queering Engineering Through a Student Driven LGBTQIA+ Reading Group (Experience)

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 7

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37632

Download Count

71

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Paper Authors

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Brandon Bakka University of Texas at Austin

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Brandon Bakka is a doctoral candidate at the University of at Austin pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering with a certificate in engineering education. He received a BS in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Colorado School of Mines. Brandon is conducting research on the modes of resistance LGBTQIA+ students utilize in response to the climate in STEM departments. He is also running a LGBTQIA+ focus reading group for STEM students to further connect them with their identity, and is passionate about understanding and dismantling the systems in engineering that marginalize students.

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Vivian Xian-Wei Chou University of Texas at Austin

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Vivian Chou is an undergraduate student pursuing a BS in Mechanical Engineering at the University of at Austin. She is conducting research on how successful community is established within LGBTQ+ student organizations despite the harsh climate in STEM departments. She is also piloting a LGBTQIA+ reading group for STEM students to queer the depoliticizing culture of STEM and give students a space to discuss and connect with their identity. Vivian is an advocate for marginalized students and seeks to be a voice for her LGBTQIA+ peers.

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Maura J. Borrego University of Texas at Austin

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Maura Borrego is Director of the Center for Engineering Education and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and STEM Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Borrego is Senior Associate Editor for Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering. She previously served as Deputy Editor for Journal of Engineering Education, a Program Director at the National Science Foundation, on the board of the American Society for Engineering Education, and as an associate dean and director of interdisciplinary graduate programs. Her research awards include U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), a National Science Foundation CAREER award, and two outstanding publication awards from the American Educational Research Association for her journal articles. All of Dr. Borrego’s degrees are in Materials Science and Engineering. Her M.S. and Ph.D. are from Stanford University, and her B.S. is from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Patricia Clayton Wake Forest University

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Gabriella P. Sugerman University of Texas at Austin Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9904-5257

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Gabriella Sugerman is a queer, white, female graduate student in biomedical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to her research in biomechanics, she is focused on expanding participation in difficult dialogues around equity and inclusion within engineering higher education.

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Cassandra Prince LGBTQ+ STEM Issues and Advocacy

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My name is Cassandra Prince (she/her/hers) and I am a third year Civil Engineering Major/Business Minor at the University of Texas at Austin. I was born and raised in the Austin area and I plan to graduate from UT Austin in May of 2022. I have gotten to work for several civil engineering companies such as TxDOT, CobbFendley, and Volkert through internships. In my time at UT Austin, I have gotten involved in organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Women in Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering Organization through the Women in Engineering Program, a Lab Assistant through the university, and the LGBQTies, or the LGBTQIA+ engineering organization at UT Austin. Through the LGBQTies, I joined the LGBTQIA+ Reading Group and the LGBTQIA+ Focus Group for Cockrell, which is the Engineering School at UT Austin. Each year, I compete in competitions through ASCE such as Concrete Frisbee and Mystery Design and served as Team Captain both capacities in the 2020-2021 academic year. I am interested in transportation and structural design and I look forward to exploring the world of engineering more after graduation.

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Jeffrey Marchioni The University of Texas at Austin

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Ria Upreti

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Abstract

In this paper, we describe a queer engineering reading group comprised of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty members. Studies over the last decade have shown that LGBTQ+ engineering students have continuously felt excluded and devalued in STEM spaces. A key factor in this chilly climate is the social-technical dualism that is often strictly enforced in engineering curriculum. Professors and students alike see discussing politics and social issues as irrelevant to the highly technical curriculum. As a result, queer identities are erased from engineering and students are never able to formally connect engineering with their queer (or other) identity in any meaningful way. In an effort to combat this, we have implemented a LGBTQ+ reading group that challenges the depoliticizing culture of engineering and allows students to further connect to their engineering and queer identities. This reading group centers weekly discussions of relevant education and sociology literature about queer and/or STEM issues. Each week a different student summarizes the paper’s key concepts then facilitates group discussion where participants voice their personal connections to the themes of the paper. A wide variety of literature has been discussed, with a focus on the intersection of queer identity with other identities marginalized in STEM. Here we present the development and structure of the reading group and lessons learned over the course of the reading group offering in Fall 2020. Furthermore, we will explore the ways this group has helped augment queer engineering spaces and has served as a catalyst for student activism. Importantly, we have included student reflections of their experiences in the group and how the readings connect with their experiences as a queer engineering student.

Bakka, B., & Chou, V. X., & Borrego, M. J., & Clayton, P., & Sugerman, G. P., & Prince, C., & Marchioni, J., & Upreti, R. (2021, July), Queering Engineering Through a Student Driven LGBTQIA+ Reading Group (Experience) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37632

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