Asee peer logo

Work in Progress: Citizen Scientists’ Description of an Engineer

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Around the Water Cooler: Ideas and Issues in Civil Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Kenneth Stewart Angelo State University

visit author page

Dr. Kenneth L. Stewart is retired professor of sociology at Angelo State University where he served on the faculty from 1975 through 2018. He was also among the founding faculty members of the Master of Public Health Degree at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Dr. Stewart’s scholarly work has a distinctively interdisciplinary flavor overlapping the fields of sociology, history, political science, public health, and engineering. He is author or co-author of three scholarly books and two edited volumes. Sixteen of his scholarly articles have been published in refereed journals or as book chapters. He has delivered professional presentations in venues including the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas, the Crossroads Conference on Rural Health, Texas State Historical Association, American Sociological Association, and the Oxford Round Table at England’s Oxford University. As director of Community Development Initiatives at ASU, Dr. Stewart implemented numerous community research, program evaluation, and community organizing projects. He continues to be an advocate for the vulnerable members of communities in West Texas.

visit author page


Daniel Ivan Castaneda James Madison University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Daniel I. Castaneda is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Engineering at James Madison University.

Daniel earned his PhD in 2016 and his Master's in 2010, both in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He previously earned his Bachelor's in 2008 from the University of California, Berkeley. After graduating from Berkeley, Daniel worked as a Systems Analyst at ATAC Corporation – a Federal Aviation Administration subcontractor specializing in analytical software solutions – before enrolling at Illinois.

Dr. Daniel Castaneda has research interests in alternative cements and concrete, fast-setting repair materials, freeze-thaw durability of concrete, instrumentation of infrastructure, residual stress modeling, rheology, and quantitative image analysis. He has taught a variety of courses including civil engineering materials, dynamics, engineering design, engineering economics, matrix analysis, mechanics, probability and risk in engineering, statics, and structural analysis.

visit author page


Azadeh Bolhari P.E. Angelo State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Bolhari is currently an Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering at Angelo State University. She has previously served as a lecturer at University of Colorado-Denver. Dr. Bolhari hold her PhD from Colorado State in Environmental Engineering. Her research interests include: fate and transport of contaminants, resilient communities, citizen science, engineering identity, and retention of minorities in engineering.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Observations from a citizen science engineering research project revealed implications for the formation of engineering students. Citizen scientist participants engaged in a months-long project to design, build, and use rainwater harvesting tanks. Their perceptions toward engineers and engineering were gathered from interviews and focus groups conducted at the start, interim, and conclusion of the project. Through a domain analysis of the transcripts, the authors found that the citizen scientists’ perceptions toward engineering as a process were greatly influenced by their participation in the project. However, their perceptions of engineers as persons did not change. Interestingly, the citizen scientists volunteered their own “funds of knowledge” about engineering skillsets and “habits of mind” but did not connect their personal traits and skills to engineering or engineers. Since the rainwater harvesting project of the citizen scientists was similar to the open-ended, project-based learning experiences of many engineering students, we posit that student perceptions of the engineering process are strongly influenced by project-based learning, but the impact on their engineering identity is limited. We explore the theoretical possibility of using asset-based community development (ABCD) mapping techniques to connect personal student strengths to communities in the context of open-ended, project-based engineering design.

Stewart, K., & Castaneda, D. I., & Bolhari, A. (2020, June), Work in Progress: Citizen Scientists’ Description of an Engineer Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35620

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: © 2020 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