Asee peer logo

Race, Gender and Persistence in Engineering and Computing: A Qualitative Analysis of Female Student Experiences at a Minority Serving Institution (MSI)

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Diane Nicole Abdullah Florida International University


Trina L. Fletcher Florida International University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Fletcher is currently an Assistant Professor at Florida International University. Her research focus equity and inclusion within STEM education, STEM at HBCUs and K-12 STEM education. Prior to FIU, Dr. Fletcher served as the Director of Pre-college Programs for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Additionally, she spent time in industry holding technical and operations-based roles and has experience with outreach projects focused on STEM education and mentoring.

visit author page

author page

Ronald Quintero Florida International University


Jade R. Moten Florida International University

visit author page

Jade R. Moten is a graduate student at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Her research interests include
expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in engineering education, policy development, TRIO programs, and quality tool implementation.

visit author page


Brittany Nicole Boyd Morgan State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Brittany N. Boyd is currently a doctoral student at Morgan State University. Her research interests include scale development to examine post-secondary experiences and program evaluation for supplemental programs, with a focus on the impact of intervention programs and other support systems on the retention of underrepresented students.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Within higher education in the United States, women still have yet to reach parity when it comes to degree attainment in engineering and computing. This result exists despite the increased focus on gender equity and broadening participation efforts for racial minorities supported by varying organizations including resources from non-profit organizations, the federal government and the private sector. As of 2018, women earned 22% of bachelor’s degrees, 27% of master’s degrees and 24% of doctoral degrees in engineering according to the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). However, this level of representation is not the same for women within certain ethnic groups. When focusing on the ethnic population shifts in the U.S., particularly the increasing number of Hispanic students enrolling in higher education, it is important to further explore the experiences of female students of diverse backgrounds in an effort to better understand and, ultimately, address parity issues.

Within engineering and computer science programs at a southeast-based minority serving institution (MSI), efforts have been made to help improve the participation in and success of female students within the fields. This has been done by partnering with external organizations and implementing programming to address documented reasons for lower female participation in engineering and computing. Using a critical race theory (CRT) lens and intersectionality conceptual framework, this research study consisted of conducting individual interviews with current undergraduate female students within engineering and computing. The interviews were coded, analyzed and thoroughly documented within the results and discussion session. Findings show that experiences prior to entering college, family involvement, social group involvement and institutional culture and climate all play critical roles in female student persistence through these academic programs. The dissemination of these results will contribute towards identifying opportunities in which to remove barriers for women within engineering and computing by understanding their experiences and participation in the fields.

Abdullah, D. N., & Fletcher, T. L., & Quintero, R., & Moten, J. R., & Boyd, B. N. (2021, July), Race, Gender and Persistence in Engineering and Computing: A Qualitative Analysis of Female Student Experiences at a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015