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Work in Progress: Perception of the Culture of Disengagement by Minoritized Students

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Cross-cultural Sensitivity, Moral Imagination, and Diversity in Engineering Ethics Education

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Engineering Ethics

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Luan M. Nguyen Iowa State University of Science and Technology Orcid 16x16

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Luan M. Nguyen is an MA/Ph.D. student in Anthropology/Civil Engineering, who completed his Master of Science in Biochemistry at Iowa State University and his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Hartwick College. His first master's thesis focused on the structural analysis of the schizophrenic gene DISC1 using transmission electron microscopy and hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry. For his second master's thesis, he focuses on identifying the individual and institutional factors that contribute to a "culture of disengagement" from the ethical dimension of engineering work among students in the engineering profession. His Ph.D. project is funded by the NSF and is concerned with promoting and improving engineering students' ethical behavior and sensitivity through on-campus student organizations. His academic interests include mental health, international development, human rights, and engineering ethics. Currently, his ambition is to work within an international organization such as UNESCO and to be an advocate for promoting science and technology as critical tools of sustainable development as well as to participate in the dialogue between scientists, policy-makers, and society. Luan enjoys traveling, reading, and watching documentaries.

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Nell Gabiam


Cristina Poleacovschi

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Dr. Poleacovschi is an Assistant Professor at Iowa State University. She researches issues of diversity and focuses on intersectional aspects of microaggressions.

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Engineering students are often taught to apply ethical codes when making engineering and professional decisions. However, ethical codes often concern technical matters such as only undertaking assignments in their areas of competence and professional matters such as acting as faithful agents or trustees for their clients, with little regard to sociopolitical matters such as addressing discriminations and inequalities in the field of engineering and beyond. This disregard of sociopolitical matters might contribute to a large amount of discrimination in the forms of microaggressions facing engineering students of minoritized backgrounds. Microaggressions are deniable acts of racism or sexism that reinforce pathological stereotypes and inequitable social norms. A study found that different groups of racially minoritized students experience university campuses differently in some ways. Therefore, we want to investigate how minoritized engineering students understand microaggressions and how their experience with microaggressions contributes to their experience in engineering programs.

Nguyen, L. M., & Gabiam, N., & Poleacovschi, C. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Perception of the Culture of Disengagement by Minoritized Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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