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Creators/Authors contains: "Kendall, Meagan R."

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  1. Abstract Background

    Retaining women and racially minoritized individuals in engineering programs has been a subject of widespread discussion and investigation. While the sense of belonging and its link to retention have been studied based on student characteristics, there is an absence of studies investigating the importance of students' social identities to their sense of belonging in engineering.

    Purpose/Hypothesis

    This study examines differences in race/ethnic identity centrality, gender identity centrality, and sense of belonging in engineering by subgroups of undergraduate engineering students at Hispanic‐Serving Institutions (HSIs). Subsequently, it examines the extent to which these identity centralities predict a sense of belonging in engineering for each subgroup.

    Design/Method

    Survey data was collected from 903 Latinx and 452 White undergraduate engineering students from seven HSIs across the continental United States. Multivariate analysis of variance and sequential multivariate linear regression were used to evaluate the research questions.

    Results

    Latinx students had higher identity centralities but a similar sense of belonging in the engineering community as White students. Latinos and Latinas had an equivalent sense of belonging in engineering, whereas White women were higher than White men. In the full models, race/ethnic identity centrality significantly, and positively predicted a sense of belonging in engineering for Latinos and White women. Gender identity centrality was not a significant predictor of a sense of belonging in engineering for either Latinx or White students.

    Conclusions

    Race/ethnic and gender identity centrality are differentially important to the sense of belonging in engineering for students at Hispanic‐Serving Institutions based on their group membership at the intersection of race and gender.

     
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  2. Contribution: This study explores the factors contributing to the development of engineering identity in Latinx students at two institutions. A better understanding of these factors will support the development of more inclusive engineering education environments and experiences. Background: Persistence of Latinx engineering students is of particular interest due to their underrepresentation in the field. Identity is a lens for understanding student persistence, but Latinx students are underrepresented in prior engineering identity studies. This study seeks to identify the unique factors, academic and professional, that contribute to engineering identity development, and potential means for supporting the persistence of Latinx engineers. Research Questions: (1) What academic and professional affect factors predict engineering identity development of Latinx students? and (2) What role does the institution play in Latinx students’ engineering identity development? Methodology: A mixed-methods approach was used to measure engineering identity based on a framework incorporating both academic and professional affect elements. Regression analyses were conducted on 892 responses to an online survey from Latinx engineering students, with additional insight from interviews with ten Latinx engineering students. Findings: Six of the nine factors analyzed (performance/competence, interest, recognition, analysis, framing and solving problems, and tinkering) were significant predictors of Latinx students' engineering identity, as were institution, gender, and having a parent with an engineering degree. Engineering identity was higher for Latinx students at the Hispanic Serving Institution, but none of the interaction terms were significant, so the relationship between these factors and engineering identity is similar at each institution. 
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