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Toward an Understanding of the Relationship Between Race/Ethnicity, Gender, First-generation Student Status, and Engineering Identity at Hispanic-serving Institutions

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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

Research on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/37917

Download Count

90

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Paper Authors

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Stephanie M. Arnett New Mexico State University

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Stephanie M. Arnett earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at New Mexico State University. Her research focuses on the sociology of education, race and ethnicity, and social stratification, with much of her work focusing on international comparisons, especially in the Latin American region. Her cross-national research examines how family socioeconomic status, school factors, and the structural characteristics of nations interact in order to produce education stratification, and identifying specific contexts that weaken the relationship between social class and academic outcomes. She is also currently working with Dr. Sandra Way and the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation to examine how college experiences shape scientific identity development and STEM educational outcomes for women and underrepresented minority students in the state of New Mexico.

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Sandra M. Way New Mexico State University

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Sandra Way earned her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona before working as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at RAND Education. She is presently an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at New Mexico State University. Her scholarship focuses on the effects of school organization and climate on students’ behavioral and achievement outcomes. As the Co-PI for New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation, she is leading a mixed-methods study to examine how college experiences shape scientific identity development and STEM educational outcomes for women and underrepresented minority students.

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David G. Ortiz New Mexico State University

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Dr. David G. Ortiz is an Associate Professor of Sociology and inaugural faculty fellow for the Center of Latin American and Border Studies (CLABS) at New Mexico State University. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame and his interests include social movements, political sociology, Latin American Studies, sociology of disasters, digital media communication, and research methods. Most of his work is cross-national, comparative, and with a regional focus on Latin America, Mexico and the US-Mexico Border. His work has been published in Mobilization, Sociological Inquiry, Sociological Perspectives, and Qualitative Sociology, among others.

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Lorissa B. B. Humble New Mexico State University

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Lorissa Humble is a recent graduate from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor’s in sociology and a minor in math. She is set to begin her Master’s program in applied statistics in Fall 2021 at the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, she works as a research assistant for the New Mexico Alliance for Minority participation studying student persistence and retention in STEM disciplines.

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Analyssa D. Martinez New Mexico State University

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Analyssa Martinez is a graduate student in the Sociology Department at New Mexico State University, where she also completed her Bachelor's of Arts in Sociology and Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is currently a research assistant for the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation Social Science Research team. Analyssa's research interests include queer studies, race and ethnic relations, and immigration.

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Abstract

This research paper investigates the relationship between race/ ethnicity, gender, first generation college student status and engineering identity using cross-sectional data from early-career engineering majors.

Measures of engineering identity are increasingly used in models of engineering education to evaluate how identity contributes to success and persistence of engineering students. Engineering identity is generally assumed to contribute to educational success, with stronger engineering identity leading to persistence. At the same time, data clearly shows that persistence of engineering students varies by race/ethnicity and gender.

Given these previous findings, we would expect to find that engineering identity will vary by race/ ethnicity, gender, and first generation status. Yet, relatively little work has quantitatively compared how engineering identity differs across racial/ ethnic groups and gender. While researchers are increasingly trying to gain a better understanding of engineering identity among Latina students, for example, the literature has not yet adequately accounted for how Latina students differ from their non-Hispanic white peers. This works seeks to address that gap in the literature with an exploration of the ways that race/ethnicity, gender, and first generation status work together to impact engineering identity among early-career engineering students at four public Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in the Southwestern United States.

We conducted surveys as part of a longitudinal study on STEM education. Data discussed here comes from baseline surveys of three cohorts of engineering students (N=475). Approximately two-thirds of the respondents were attending a traditional 4-year university while the remainder (N=159) were attending community college at the time of the survey. Approximately two-thirds of the respondents identified as Latinx, 27% identified as female, and 26.5% reported that they were first-generation college students.

While expectations were that engineering identity would vary by race/ethnicity and gender, preliminary analyses of our data unexpectedly reveal no significant differences between Latinx and White students in terms of their engineering identity and no significant differences in engineering identity between male and female students. Interactions between race/ethnicity and gender were also tested and yielded no significant differences between early-career Latinx and White students in terms of their engineering identity. Finally, students who reported that they will be the first in their family to get a college degree had significantly lower engineering identity scores (=-.422; p=.001). These results lead us to conclude that first generation status at HSIs may be more important than gender and race/ ethnicity in the development of engineering identity for early career students.

Arnett, S. M., & Way, S. M., & Ortiz, D. G., & Humble, L. B. B., & Martinez, A. D. (2021, July), Toward an Understanding of the Relationship Between Race/Ethnicity, Gender, First-generation Student Status, and Engineering Identity at Hispanic-serving Institutions Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://strategy.asee.org/37917

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