 Award ID(s):
 1703846
 NSFPAR ID:
 10156241
 Date Published:
 Journal Name:
 Rationality and Society
 Volume:
 31
 Issue:
 4
 ISSN:
 10434631
 Page Range / eLocation ID:
 371 to 408
 Format(s):
 Medium: X
 Sponsoring Org:
 National Science Foundation
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Introduction and Theoretical Frameworks Our study draws upon several theoretical foundations to investigate and explain the educational experiences of Black students majoring in ME, CpE, and EE: intersectionality, critical race theory, and community cultural wealth theory. Intersectionality explains how gender operates together with race, not independently, to produce multiple, overlapping forms of discrimination and social inequality (Crenshaw, 1989; Collins, 2013). Critical race theory recognizes the unique experiences of marginalized groups and strives to identify the micro and macroinstitutional sources of discrimination and prejudice (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001). Community cultural wealth integrates an assetbased perspective to our analysis of engineering education to assist in the identification of factors that contribute to the success of engineering students (Yosso, 2005). These three theoretical frameworks are buttressed by our use of Racial Identity Theory, which expands understanding about the significance and meaning associated with students’ sense of group membership. Sellers and colleagues (1997) introduced the Multidimensional Model of Racial Identity (MMRI), in which they indicated that racial identity refers to the “significance and meaning that African Americans place on race in defining themselves” (p. 19). The development of this model was based on the reality that individuals vary greatly in the extent to which they attach meaning to being a member of the Black racial group. Sellers et al. (1997) posited that there are four components of racial identity: 1. Racial salience: “the extent to which one’s race is a relevant part of one’s selfconcept at a particular moment or in a particular situation” (p. 24). 2. Racial centrality: “the extent to which a person normatively defines himself or herself with regard to race” (p. 25). 3. Racial regard: “a person’s affective or evaluative judgment of his or her race in terms of positivenegative valence” (p. 26). This element consists of public regard and private regard. 4. Racial ideology: “composed of the individual’s beliefs, opinions and attitudes with respect to the way he or she feels that the members of the race should act” (p. 27). The resulting 56item inventory, the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity (MIBI), provides a robust measure of Black identity that can be used across multiple contexts. Research Questions Our 3year, mixedmethod study of Black students in computer (CpE), electrical (EE) and mechanical engineering (ME) aims to identify institutional policies and practices that contribute to the retention and attrition of Black students in electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering. Our four study institutions include historically Black institutions as well as predominantly white institutions, all of which are in the top 15 nationally in the number of Black engineering graduates. We are using a transformative mixedmethods design to answer the following overarching research questions: 1. Why do Black men and women choose and persist in, or leave, EE, CpE, and ME? 2. What are the academic trajectories of Black men and women in EE, CpE, and ME? 3. In what way do these pathways vary by gender or institution? 4. What institutional policies and practices promote greater retention of Black engineering students? Methods This study of Black students in CpE, EE, and ME reports initial results from indepth interviews at one HBCU and one PWI. We asked students about a variety of topics, including their sense of belonging on campus and in the major, experiences with discrimination, the impact of race on their experiences, and experiences with microaggressions. For this paper, we draw on two methodological approaches that allowed us to move beyond a traditional, linear approach to indepth interviews, allowing for more diverse experiences and narratives to emerge. First, we used an identity circle to gain a better understanding of the relative importance to the participants of racial identity, as compared to other identities. The identity circle is a series of three concentric circles, surrounding an “inner core” representing one’s “core self.” Participants were asked to place various identities from a provided list that included demographic, familyrelated, and schoolrelated identities on the identity circle to reflect the relative importance of the different identities to participants’ current engineering education experiences. Second, participants were asked to complete an 8item survey which measured the “centrality” of racial identity as defined by Sellers et al. (1997). Following Enders’ (2018) reflection on the MMRI and Nigrescence Theory, we chose to use the measure of racial centrality as it is generally more stable across situations and best “describes the place race holds in the hierarchy of identities an individual possesses and answers the question ‘How important is race to me in my life?’” (p. 518). Participants completed the MIBI items at the end of the interview to allow us to learn more about the participants’ identification with their racial group, to avoid biasing their responses to the Identity Circle, and to avoid potentially creating a stereotype threat at the beginning of the interview. This paper focuses on the results of the MIBI survey and the identity circles to investigate whether these measures were correlated. Recognizing that Blackness (race) is not monolithic, we were interested in knowing the extent to which the participants considered their Black identity as central to their engineering education experiences. Combined with discussion about the identity circles, this approach allowed us to learn more about how other elements of identity may shape the participants’ educational experiences and outcomes and revealed possible differences in how participants may enact various points of their identity. Findings For this paper, we focus on the results for five HBCU students and 27 PWI students who completed the MIBI and identity circle. The overall MIBI average for HBCU students was 43 (out of a possible 56) and the overall MIBI scores ranged from 3651; the overall MIBI average for the PWI students was 40; the overall MIBI scores for the PWI students ranged from 2451. Twentyone students placed race in the inner circle, indicating that race was central to their identity. Five placed race on the second, middle circle; three placed race on the third, outer circle. Three students did not place race on their identity circle. For our crosscase qualitative analysis, we will choose cases across the two institutions that represent low, medium and high MIBI scores and different ranges of centrality of race to identity, as expressed in the identity circles. Our final analysis will include descriptive quotes from these indepth interviews to further elucidate the significance of race to the participants’ identities and engineering education experiences. The results will provide context for our larger study of a total of 60 Black students in engineering at our four study institutions. Theoretically, our study represents a new application of Racial Identity Theory and will provide a unique opportunity to apply the theories of intersectionality, critical race theory, and community cultural wealth theory. Methodologically, our findings provide insights into the utility of combining our two qualitative research tools, the MIBI centrality scale and the identity circle, to better understand the influence of race on the education experiences of Black students in engineering.more » « less

We revisit the problem of designing optimal, individually rational matching mechanisms (in a general sense, allowing for cycles in directed graphs), where each player — who is associated with a subset of vertices — matches as many of his own vertices when he opts into the matching mechanism as when he opts out. We offer a new perspective on this problem by considering an arbitrary graph, but assuming that vertices are associated with players at random. Our main result asserts that, under certain conditions, any fixed optimal matching is likely to be individually rational up to lowerorder terms. We also show that a simple and practical mechanism is (fully) individually rational, and likely to be optimal up to lowerorder terms. We discuss the implications of our results for market design in general, and kidney exchange in particular.more » « less

null (Ed.)We study the following problem, which to our knowledge has been addressed only partially in the literature and not in full generality. An agent observes two players play a zerosum game that is known to the players but not the agent. The agent observes the actions and state transitions of their game play, but not rewards. The players may play either optimally (according to some Nash equilibrium) or according to any other solution concept, such as a quantal response equilibrium. Following these observations, the agent must recommend a policy for one player, say Player 1. The goal is to recommend a policy that is minimally exploitable under the true, but unknown, game. We take a Bayesian approach. We establish a likelihood function based on observations and the specified solution concept. We then propose an approach based on Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC), which allows us to approximately sample games from the agent’s posterior belief distribution. Once we have a batch of independent samples from the posterior, we use linear programming and backward induction to compute a policy for Player 1 that minimizes the sum of exploitabilities over these games. This approximates the policy that minimizes the expected exploitability under the full distribution. Our approach is also capable of handling counterfactuals, where known modifications are applied to the unknown game. We show that our Bayesian MCMCbased technique outperforms two other techniques—one based on the equilibrium policy of the maximumprobability game and the other based on imitation of observed behavior—on all the tested stochastic game environments.more » « less

Yllka Velaj and Ulrich Berger (Ed.)
This paper considers a twoplayer game where each player chooses a resource from a finite collection of options. Each resource brings a random reward. Both players have statistical information regarding the rewards of each resource. Additionally, there exists an information asymmetry where each player has knowledge of the reward realizations of different subsets of the resources. If both players choose the same resource, the reward is divided equally between them, whereas if they choose different resources, each player gains the full reward of the resource. We first implement the iterative best response algorithm to find an ϵapproximate Nash equilibrium for this game. This method of finding a Nash equilibrium may not be desirable when players do not trust each other and place no assumptions on the incentives of the opponent. To handle this case, we solve the problem of maximizing the worstcase expected utility of the first player. The solution leads to counterintuitive insights in certain special cases. To solve the general version of the problem, we develop an efficient algorithmic solution that combines online convex optimization and the driftplus penalty technique.

We consider computational games, sequences of games G = (G1,G2,...) where, for all n, Gn has the same set of players. Computational games arise in electronic money systems such as Bitcoin, in cryptographic protocols, and in the study of generative adversarial networks in machine learning. Assuming that oneway functions exist, we prove that there is 2player zerosum computational game G such that, for all n, the size of the action space in Gn is polynomial in n and the utility function in Gn is computable in time polynomial in n, and yet there is no εNash equilibrium if players are restricted to using strategies computable by polynomialtime Turing machines, where we use a notion of Nash equilibrium that is tailored to computational games. We also show that an εNash equilibrium may not exist if players are constrained to perform at most T computational steps in each of the games in the sequence. On the other hand, we show that if players can use arbitrary Turing machines to compute their strategies, then every computational game has an εNash equilibrium. These results may shed light on competitive settings where the availability of more running time or faster algorithms can lead to a “computational arms race”, precluding the existence of equilibrium. They also point to inherent limitations of concepts such as “best response” and Nash equilibrium in games with resourcebounded players.more » « less