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Work in Progress: Broadening Participation in Engineering: Exploring the Burdens and Benefits of Student Volunteerism

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Conference

2021 CoNECD

Location

Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day

Publication Date

January 24, 2021

Start Date

January 24, 2021

End Date

January 28, 2021

Conference Session

CoNECD Session : Day 1 Slot 2 Technical Session 3

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Submissions

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36144

Download Count

14

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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 candidate 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 and institutions 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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Cynthia Hampton Virginia Tech

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Cynthia Hampton is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. While at Virginia Tech, Cynthia has directed summer bridge programs, led peer support initiatives for underrepresented groups, and served on various commissions, committees, and research groups focused on student support, organizational change, graduate student policy, and culturally responsive evaluation. Her research interests include organizational behavior and change as it pertains to engineering
education and broadening participation, faculty change agents, and complex system dynamics. Her research investigates narrative inquiry of faculty who use their agency to engage in broadening participation in engineering activities. Cynthia received her B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering from Kansas State University and will receive her M.S. in Management Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2019.

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Taylor Lightner Virginia Tech

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Taylor Lightner is a doctoral student in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she serves as a graduate research assistant. In addition, she is a student in the Disaster Resilience and Risk Management Program. Taylor received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University. Her research interests include broadening participation, interdisciplinary interactions, community engagement, and the societal impact of engineering infrastructure.

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Natali Huggins Virginia Tech

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Natali Huggins is a PhD student in the Higher Education program at Virginia Tech. She holds a master’s in public administration from the National Experimental University of Táchira in Venezuela. She has several years of experience in higher education administration and internal audit in Venezuela. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion in graduate education, particularly international and Latinx graduate students’ persistence and development. She is interested in supporting students in their transition and adaptability to higher education in the United States.

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Cherie D. Edwards Virginia Commonwealth University

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Dr. Cherie D. Edwards earned her Ph.D. in Educational Research and Evaluation from Virginia Tech. Her research and scholarship are focused on exploring the implementation of mixed methods, qualitative, and arts-informed research designs in studies examining issues of social justice and educational equity. Most recently, she worked on a research team examining the impacts of an out-of-school STEM summer program for racially underrepresented youth.

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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 & systems engineering from Virginia Tech, and his B.S. in industrial engineering from Clemson University.

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David B. Knight Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4576-2490

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David B. Knight is an Associate Professor and Assistant Department Head of Graduate Programs in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He is also Director of Research of the Academy for Global Engineering at Virginia Tech, and is affiliate faculty with the Higher Education Program. His research tends to be at the macro-scale, focused on a systems-level perspective of how engineering education can become more effective, efficient, and inclusive, tends to be data-driven by leveraging large-scale institutional, state, or national data sets, and considers the intersection between policy and organizational contexts. He has B.S., M.S., and M.U.E.P. degrees from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Pennsylvania State University.

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Abstract

Across the United States, organizations are engaged in ongoing efforts to broaden participation in engineering (BPE). Because of the lack of persistent representation in engineering, these efforts focus across the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels of education, primarily targeting women and people of color. While extensive literature has documented the impacts of BPE efforts on participants themselves, less research examines the experiences of those who engage in efforts to broaden participation. Such an investigation is important because much of the labor that goes into BPE is provided by underrepresented students themselves, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to explore the impact that broadening participation volunteerism has on engineering students from underserved communities. Volunteerism traditionally refers to the voluntary, sustained, and ongoing helpfulness of one individual to another. We argue that, despite some students being compensated for their contributions, their contribution to BPE efforts should be viewed as volunteerism because: 1) their involvement is non-compulsory, and 2) they are not substantially compensated when compared to what they could be alternatively doing with their engineering training.

This work-in-progress is part of a larger study aimed at understanding the impacts of broadening participation volunteerism of mentors from underserved communities at the pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate levels. To date, we have conducted 9 narrative interviews with underrepresented students who are actively involved in BPE volunteerism at a large, high research, predominantly white university. In this paper, we describe preliminary results concerning the burdens and benefits, both personal and professional, associated with BPE volunteerism. The findings can provide programming administrators a deeper understanding of the taxation that marginalized students may experience when it comes to BPE.

Boyd-Sinkler, K., & Hampton, C., & Lightner, T., & Huggins, N., & Edwards, C. D., & Lee, W. C., & Knight, D. B. (2021, January), Work in Progress: Broadening Participation in Engineering: Exploring the Burdens and Benefits of Student Volunteerism Paper presented at 2021 CoNECD, Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day . https://peer.asee.org/36144

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