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Who’s Smarter? Beliefs about Smartness and Self-Identities Across Institutionalized Educational Pathways into Engineering

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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

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

6

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38059

Download Count

22

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Paper Authors

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Amy Kramer P.E. Ohio State University

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Amy Kramer is a graduate student and research associate at The Ohio State University in the Engineering Education Department. She earned a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from The Ohio State University in 2010 and 2013, respectively. Most recently she worked as a structural engineering consultant in Columbus, OH where she specialized in the design of reinforced concrete and steel structures for industrial facilities. Her current research interests in Engineering Education include engineering epistemology, equity and inclusion, and engineering culture.

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Bailey Braaten Ohio State University

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Bailey Braaten is currently a doctoral candidate at the Ohio State University, where she is in her fifth year of the STEM education PhD program. She is a graduate research assistant on the EHR Core NSF funded project, examining first year engineering students' beliefs around smartness and engineering. She is also a graduate research assistant on the KEEN project, funded by the Kern Family Foundation, focusing on the assessment of entrepreneurial-minded learning (EML) in first-year engineering courses. Bailey received her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Ohio Northern University and her M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from University of Cincinnati. Her research area of interest is creating a more equitable learning environment for underrepresented populations of students in the STEM fields.

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Rachel Louis Kajfez Ohio State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9745-1921

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Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Ohio State and earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Her research interests focus on the intersection between motivation and identity of undergraduate and graduate students, first-year engineering programs, mixed methods research, and innovative approaches to teaching. She is the faculty lead for the Research on Identity and Motivation in Engineering (RIME) Collaborative.

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Emily Dringenberg Ohio State University

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Dr. Dringenberg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Ohio State University. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Kansas State '08), a M.S. in Industrial Engineering (Purdue '14) and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education (Purdue ’15). Her team, Beliefs in Engineering Research Group (BERG), utilizes qualitative methods to explore beliefs in engineering. Her research has an overarching goal of leveraging engineering education research to shift the culture of engineering to be more realistic and inclusive--especially with regard to beliefs about decision making, smartness, and the causes of race- and gender-based minoritization. In general, she is always excited to learn new things and work with motivated individuals from diverse backgrounds to improve the experiences of people at any level in engineering education.

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Abstract

The underrepresentation of non-male and non-white individuals continues to be a persistent problem at all levels of engineering. In undergraduate education, multiple pathways into engineering degree programs (e.g., introductory courses offered at regional campuses and community colleges) are often viewed as a way to broaden participation in the field by increasing access and affordability. However, research within the K-12 context has uncovered that such educational tracking practices, similar in structure to those seen in higher education, often function in ways that perpetuate social inequalities. Often students in less prestigious tracks develop lower self-beliefs and educational attainment goals while being offered less resource and educational support. Despite these parallels, little is known about how institutionalized pathways function in higher education in terms of equity, access, and inclusion. In addition to the lack of knowledge about institutionalize pathways, little is known about the impact of beliefs about smartness which are directly tied to the various pathways. With an emphasis on math and science, common public messaging emphasizes that in order to be an engineer, one has to be smart regardless of pathway. As such, the beliefs that students hold about smartness and how they identify as smart can impact who chooses to pursue in engineering, through what pathways they engage, and who persists in engineering degree programs.

The overall objective of this study is to understand what, if any, patterns exist in the beliefs about smartness and self-identities of undergraduate engineering students across institutionalized pathways. Specifically, this three-year qualitative study aims to explore: 1) What students believe about smartness and engineering and 2) how students express their self-identities as smart and engineers. In this executive summary and poster, we will report on initial findings from preliminary analysis of the first of a series of three interviews over the course of our participants’ first- and second-years including engineering students from six different institutionalized pathways that feed into one college of engineering.

Kramer, A., & Braaten, B., & Kajfez, R. L., & Dringenberg, E. (2021, July), Who’s Smarter? Beliefs about Smartness and Self-Identities Across Institutionalized Educational Pathways into Engineering Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38059

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