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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Imprimir: 1072-8325
ISSN En Línea: 1940-431X

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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2019025657
pages 147-166

ACTIVE AGENTS AND FICTIVE KIN: LEARNING FROM PELL-ELIGIBLE ENGINEERING STUDENTS' CLASS STANDPOINT

Coleen Carrigan
Department of Social Sciences, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
Jarman Hauser
Amazon.com, Seattle, WA
Eve A. Riskin
College of Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Priti Mody-Pan
College of Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Jim Borgford-Parnell
College of Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Dawn Wiggin
College of Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Scott Winter
College of Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Scott Pinkham
College of Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Sonya Cunningham
College of Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

SINOPSIS

Students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are underrepresented in engineering majors. To generate visionary solutions for our complex world, engineering needs diverse perspectives at the table. Individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds broaden the potential for engineering applications' purpose. Our qualitative study of Pell-eligible students identifies challenges to their success and unique sources of inspiration and support. In our action-oriented study, semi-structured interviews illuminated how participants navigate their education within structures that privilege wealthier students. In our analysis, we used a constructivist framework that can amplify the experiences of these students and elucidate the institutional factors that either support or jeopardize their persistence. We found that Pell-eligible students are cognizant of their class standpoint and this shapes their relationship with engineering institutions of higher education. Participants' narratives illuminated either an oppositional or reconcilable relationship with engineering, a pattern we analyze in both structural and individual terms, using cultural reproduction and standpoint theories. We also found fictive kin relations play an important role in participants' persistence. Students from low socioeconomic status experience face unique constraints in engineering. Their narratives provide clues as to what transformations engineering education institutions can enact to enable students from all class standpoints to contribute to the engineering profession.


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