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Student Conceptualizations about Diversity: "How Would You Describe the Diversity in Engineering at Your Institution?"

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Conference

2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference

Location

Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 29, 2018

Start Date

April 29, 2018

End Date

May 2, 2018

Conference Session

Race/Ethnicity Track - Technical Session I

Tagged Topic

Race/Ethnicity

Page Count

11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29580

Download Count

34

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Paper Authors

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Karis Boyd-Sinkler Virginia Tech

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Karis Boyd-Sinkler is a doctoral student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She also serves as support staff for the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, where she is involved in the recruitment, outreach, and retention of engineering students. Her research interests include diversity in engineering and the role of engineering student support centers in regards to student attrition and persistence rates. Ms. Boyd received her B.S. in engineering science from the University of Virginia in 2014.

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Amy L. Hermundstad Virginia Tech

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Amy Hermundstad is a doctoral student and graduate research assistant at Virginia Tech. She received her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University and is currently pursuing an M.S. in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in engineering education. Her research interests include the professional development of engineering students through out-of-class activities.

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Mayra S. Artiles Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7604-0410

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Mayra S. Artiles is a Ph.D. student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University with a focus on nanotechnology. Prior to her current position, she worked at Ford Motor Company as an Electrified Vehicles Thermal Engineer. Her research interests are broadening participation in engineering higher education, higher education policy, and academic motivation.

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Canek Moises Luna Phillips Rice University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6571-2733

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Canek Phillips (P’urepecha) is a postdoctoral research associate at Rice University in the Brown School of Engineering. Canek’s research interests broadly relate to efforts to broaden participation in engineering. Currently, he is working on a project to improve mathematics education for visually impaired students.

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Benjamin David Lutz Oregon State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-2637-0942

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Ben Lutz is a postdoctoral scholar in engineering education at Oregon State University. His research interests include innovative pedagogies in engineering design, conceptual change and development, school-to-work transitions for new engineers, and efforts for inclusion and diversity within engineering. His current work explores how students describe their own learning in engineering design and how that learning supports transfer of learning from school into professional practice as well as exploring students' conceptions of diversity and its importance within engineering fields.

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Walter C. Lee Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5082-1411

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Dr. Walter Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education and the assistant director for research in the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED), both at Virginia Tech. His research interests include co-curricular support, student success and retention, and diversity. Lee received his Ph.D in engineering education from Virginia Tech, his M.S. in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Tech, and his B.S. in industrial engineering from Clemson University.

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Abstract

As the field of engineering continuously suffers from a lack of diversity, it is widely accepted that the engineering education community continue focusing on broadening participation. However, similar consensus does not exist as it relates to measuring progress. We argue that this is partially due to the ambiguity of the word diversity. Because people have different conceptualizations of diversity, it can be expected that progress, and the extent of the problem, looks different to different people: what we consider “diverse enough” is a moving target. Accordingly, this paper examines the ways in which this target moves from person to person. To address this purpose, we interviewed undergraduate (n=19) and graduate students (n=22) majoring in engineering at a predominately white, mid-Atlantic institution, asking each to describe the current level of diversity in engineering at their institution. Grounded in social constructionism, we explore students’ rationale for determining the extent to which their shared environment is diverse. Our results highlight several themes related to conceptualizing diversity, and suggest that engineering students often use various environmental and social cues to reach similar and varied conclusions.

Boyd-Sinkler, K., & Hermundstad, A. L., & Artiles , M. S., & Phillips, C. M. L., & Lutz, B. D., & Lee, W. C. (2018, April), Student Conceptualizations about Diversity: "How Would You Describe the Diversity in Engineering at Your Institution?" Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29580

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