June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Minorities in Engineering
26.1625.1 - 26.1625.16
Characteristics of Effective Mentoring of African American Women in Engineering: A Phenomenographic Pilot StudySeeking to improve retention of underrepresented minorities within the STEM fields, we oftendiscuss why they are leaving, but spend less time on the measures that have aided in theirpersistence. Support remains one of the top factors that impacts the retention of all student, butespecially for students of color. Research has shown that mentoring is an essential source inproviding support for students of color. Our current understanding of the role of mentoring or thecritical components are incomplete. For example, the mentoring experiences of AfricanAmerican women, especially in the field of engineering, is currently not the focus of studies Tofill this gap in the literature, the aim of this study is to gain an understanding of the componentsof effective mentoring for African American women in engineering, specifically through facultymentors. Phenomenography is the method of analysis for this study due to its capability to minimizeessentialization and placing value in variations within a phenomenon of interest or experience. Inother words, this method does not aim to generalize the experiences of all African Americanwomen in engineering. A group that lives at the intersection of both African American andfemale identities, which are experienced simultaneously. African American women’s sociallydefined categorizations provides a unique perspective that can distinctively impact theirexperiences, including their mentoring relationships. Designed as a qualitative study, studentinterviews solicit explicit examples of their experiences to provide insight into their individualmentoring relationships. A pilot study was conducted with five women, both graduate andundergraduate were interviewed about their undergraduate mentoring experiences, each lasting90-120 minutes.Investigation of their unique mentoring experiences resulted in the identification of specificcharacteristic categories that articulate the numerous ways in which this specific group ofAfrican American women have experienced faculty mentoring; keeping in mind thatgeneralization is not a goal of the study or phenomenography. Expressed as separate categories,the result of this study shed light on certain factors that have not been discussed in currentmentoring literature, most likely as it focuses on a unique group that has not frequently been thefocus of established mentoring frameworks.
Smith, C. S., & Paretti, M. C. (2015, June), Understanding the Mentoring Needs of African-American Female Engineering Students: A Phenomenographic Preliminary Analysis Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24961
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