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  1. Disabled people continue to be significantly underrepresented and marginalized in engineering. Current reports indicate that approximately 26 percent of US adults have some form of disability. Yet only 6 percent of undergraduate students enrolled in engineering programs belong to this group. Several barriers have been identified that discourage and even prohibit people with disabilities from participating in engineering including arduous accommodations processes, lack of institutional support, and negative peer, staff, and faculty attitudes. These barriers are perpetuated and reinforced by a variety of ableist sociocultural norms and definitions that rely on popularized tropes and medicalized models that influence the ways this group experiences school to become engineers. In this paper, we seek to contribute to conversations that shape understanding of disability identity and the ways it is conceptualized in engineering programs. We revisit interview data from an ongoing grounded theory exploration of professional identity formation of undergraduate civil engineering students who identify as having one or more disabilities. Through our qualitative analysis, we identified overarching themes that contribute to understanding of how participants define and integrate disability identity to form professional identities and the ways they reshape and contribute to the civil engineering field through this lens. Emergent themes include experiencing/considering disability identity as a fluid experience, as a characteristic that ‘sets you apart’, and as a medicalized symptom or condition. Findings from this work can be used by engineering educators and administrators to inform more effective academic and personal support structures to destigmatize disability and promote the participation and inclusion of students and colleagues with disabilities in engineering and in our academic and professional communities. 
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  2. National agencies throughout Australia and the United States (U.S.) have called for broadened participation in engineering, including participation by individuals with disabilities. However, studies demonstrate that students with disabilities are not effectively supported by university systems and cultures. This lack of support can shape how students form professional identities as they move through school and into careers. To better understand these experiences and create a more inclusive environment in engineering, we conducted a constructivist grounded theory exploration of professional identity formation in students who identify as having a disability as they study civil engineering and experience their first year of work. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 24 undergraduate civil engineering students across the U.S. and analysed them using grounded theory techniques. Navigating sociocultural expectations of disability emerged as one key theme, consisting of three strategy types: (1) neutrally satisfying expectations, (2) challenging expectations, and (3) aligning with expectations. Regardless of strategy, all participants navigated sociocultural expectations related to their studies and their disabilities. This theme highlights the ways sociocultural influences impact students’ navigation through their undergraduate civil engineering careers. These findings can be used to examine cultural barriers faced by students with disabilities to enhance their inclusion in engineering. 
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  3. Context: Within higher education, reports show that approximately 6% of Australian college students and 13% of U.S. college students have identified as having a disability to their institution of higher education. Findings from research in K-12 education report that students with disabilities often leave secondary school with lower college aspirations and are discouraged from taking engineering-related courses. Those who do enrol are often not supported effectively and must navigate physical, cultural, and bureaucratic university systems in order to access resources necessary for success in school and work. This lack of support is problematic as cognitive, developmental, mental health, and physical disabilities can markedly shape the ways in which students perceive and experience school, form professional identities, and move into the engineering workforce. However, little work has explored professional identity development within this population, specifically within a single engineering discipline such as civil engineering. Purpose: To move beyond tolerance and actively embrace students with diverse perspectives in engineering higher education, the purpose of this study is to understand the ways in which undergraduate students who experience disability form professional identities as civil engineers. Approach: Drawing on the sensitizing concepts of identity saliency, intersectionality, and social identity theory, we utilize Constructivist Grounded Theory (GT) to explore the influences of and interactions among students' disability and professional identities within civil engineering. Semi-structured interviews, each lasting approximately 90 minutes, were conducted with undergraduate civil engineering students who identified as having a disability. Here, we present our findings from the initial and focused coding phases of our GT analysis. Results: Our analyses revealed two themes warranting further exploration: 1) varying levels of disability identity saliency in relation to the development of a professional identity; and 2) conflicting colloquial and individual conceptualizations of disability. Overall, it has been observed that students' experiences with and perceptions of these themes tend to vary based on characteristics of an experienced disability. Conclusions: Students with disabilities experience college - and form professional identities - in a variety of ways. While further research is required to delineate how disability shapes college students' professional identities and vice versa, gaining an understanding of student experiences can yield insights to help us create educational spaces that better allow students with disabilities to flourish in engineering and make engineering education more inclusive. 
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  4. Abstract Background

    Although researchers have documented the outcomes of various out‐of‐class activities for undergraduate students, less attention has been given to student perspectives on activity category and activity levels, particularly when considering demographics such as gender and race/ethnicity.


    This study aims to create a more nuanced profile of engineering undergraduate engagement in out‐of‐class activities disaggregated by gender, race/ethnicity, and level of activity. As an exploratory study, its goal is to identify patterns that can be explored in the future.


    A purposive sample of 649 engineering students from three institutions provided complete survey responses that were quantitatively analyzed using frequency tables, diverging bar charts, and calculated odds ratios. This study included an intentional focus on gender and racial/ethnic differences.


    Job and Sports were most commonly identified as the top out‐of‐class activity for engineering students. Select pre‐professional activities and activities related to the humanities, arts, environment, and civic life were identified less frequently as top activities. Significant differences in choice of top activity and level of activity were found when comparing students by gender and race/ethnicity.


    A better understanding of engineering student engagement in out‐of‐class activities helps guide actions of program administrators and educators and the direction of future research exploring out‐of‐class engagement. Such opportunities can be shaped to improve engagement, particularly among underrepresented groups.

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