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The WISER Experience: Supports and Opportunities for Improvement Perceived by Female Engineering Students in a Living-learning Community

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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

Gender Track - Technical Session I

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Gender

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29586

Download Count

14

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Paper Authors

biography

Maya Rucks Clemson University

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Maya Rucks is a doctoral student in the Engineering and Science Education program at Clemson University. She received her bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and her master's degree in industrial engineering at Louisiana Tech University. Her areas of interest include, minorities in engineering, K-12 engineering, and engineering curriculum development.

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biography

Marisa K. Orr Clemson University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5944-5846

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Marisa K. Orr is an Assistant Professor in Engineering and Science Education with a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University. Her research interests include student persistence and pathways in engineering, gender equity, diversity, and academic policy. Dr. Orr is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award for her research entitled, “Empowering Students to be Adaptive Decision-Makers.”

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Abstract

There is an increasing need for more STEM graduates in the United States. It has been shown that the dearth of women majoring in engineering fields has much to do with female students feeling out of place in the male-dominated field. Building a community where female engineering majors can come together may be a way to alleviate some of those feelings. This paper highlights some of the strengths and opportunities for improvement in a living-learning community (LLC) at a State University. The Women in Science and Engineering Residence (WISER) program is an LLC for female, sophomore engineering majors. Aside from a common residence hall, this program also offers tutoring, community service events, leadership opportunities, and social activities. Five students were interviewed and asked questions about their experiences in WISER. Four major themes were identified. The first theme was Social Engagement. Though the students do appreciate the social events offered to them by their departments and through WISER, they would like more events that are exclusively for WISER students. The next theme was Mentoring. The WISER team members have been available for their students’ personal, professional, and emotional needs. Professional Development was the third theme. The students feel that professional development workshops and informational sessions have prepared them for their personal, professional, and academic goals. The last theme addressed was Difficulties of Being a Gender Minority. Many of the issues that women in this program face stem from not being heard or feeling like their opinions are not valued. This paper will also present suggestions for improving the experiences of female engineering students based on our findings.

Rucks, M., & Orr, M. K. (2018, April), The WISER Experience: Supports and Opportunities for Improvement Perceived by Female Engineering Students in a Living-learning Community Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29586

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