Exploring i-poems to explore the identity of underrepresented engineering student makers

Nadia Kellam, Anna Cirell, Audrey Boklage, Brooke Coley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


This Work in Progress Paper presents an NSF-funded study focused on understanding the role that makerspaces play in the identity development of engineering students from underrepresented groups (URGs). In recent years, makerspaces have become a popular addition to universities, with an implicit assumption that makerspaces will increase students choosing to major in STEM disciplines. The research question that guided this work is the following: How well do I-poems and thematic analysis help us uncover complex and nuanced understandings of the identities of engineering students and makers who are from URGs? For this paper, we share a passage from an interview and conduct an analysis of that passage using the I-poem analytic strategy and thematic analysis. In particular, we explore the possibilities inherent in using these analytic approaches to understand identity development. We discuss how the I-poem was effective in developing a more complex and nuanced understanding of the identity development of engineering student makers. Further implications of this novel approach are that I-poems show promise to resonate better with the reader and position the researcher and reader as 'standing alongside' the participant, instead of a more traditional approach of 'gazing at' our participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFrontiers in Education
Subtitle of host publicationFostering Innovation Through Diversity, FIE 2018 - Conference Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781538611739
StatePublished - Jul 2 2018
Event48th Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2018 - San Jose, United States
Duration: Oct 3 2018Oct 6 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Conference48th Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose


  • Diversity
  • Engineering education research
  • I-poems
  • Inclusion
  • Making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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