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Title: Nevertheless, she persisted:” Women thrive when they experience the joy of doing engineering in a climate for inclusion
CONTEXT For the last 40 years, the aggregate number of women receiving bachelor’s degrees in engineering in the US has remained stuck at approximately 20%. Research into this “disappointing state of affairs” has established that “the [educational] institutions in which women sought inclusion are themselves gendered, raced and classed” (Borrego, 2011; Riley et al., 2015; Tonso, 2007). PURPOSE Our focus is women students who thrive in undergraduate engineering student project teams. We need to learn more about how they describe becoming an engineer, about how women come to think of themselves as engineers and about how they perform their engineering selves, and how others come to identify them as engineers (Tonso, 2006). METHODS We are guided by a feminist, activist, and interpretive lens. Our multi-case study method, i.e., three semi-structured interviews and photovoice, offers two advantages: 1) the knowledge generated by case studies is concrete and context dependent (Case and Light, 2011); 2) case studies are useful in the heuristic identification of new variables and potential hypotheses (George and Bennett, 2005). ACTUAL OUTCOMES Our preliminary results suggest these women find joy in their experience of developing and applying engineering expertise to real, tangible, and challenging problems. They find knowing-about and knowing-how exciting, self-rewarding and self-defining. Further, these more » women work to transform the culture or ways of participating in project teams. This transforming not only facilitates knowing-about and knowing-how; but also it creates an environment in which women can claim their expertise, their identity as engineers, and have those expertise and identities affirmed by others. CONCLUSIONS If we aim to transform our gendered, raced, classed institutions, we need to learn more about women who thrive within those institutions. We need to learn more about the joy of doing engineering that these women experience. We also need to learn more about how they create an “integration-and-learning perspective” for themselves (Ely and Thomas, 2001) and a “climate for inclusion” within those project teams (Nishii, 2012), a perspective and climate that fosters the joy of doing engineering. « less
Authors:
Award ID(s):
2100560
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10357576
Journal Name:
Research in Engineering Education Symposium & Australian Association for
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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