Making space for the women: Exploring female engineering student narratives of engagement in makerspaces

Christina K. Lam, Samantha N. Cruz, Nadia N. Kellam, Brooke Charae Coley

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Makerspaces have the potential to revolutionize engineering education by providing a platform for students to nurture their tacit knowledge. This unique space allows for students to work with advanced prototyping equipment, develop specialized skills and create community. Although makerspaces could become an important dimension of engineering education, it is unclear whether these spaces are inclusive for all engineering students, especially those from underrepresented groups. Specifically, this study aims to understand the experiences of diverse female engineering students in makerspaces. For this study, we analyzed interview transcripts of ten women from multiple U.S. universities housing engineering academic makerspaces-those anchored to and supported by the engineering department/school specifically-and found common themes across their stories. These themes include the perception of gender bias, as well as an intimidating, hostile, and non-inclusive environment. Although the results of this study demonstrate gender bias and marginalization occur in makerspaces, female engineering students still find value in the makerspace through access to resources, opportunities to learn, increased confidence, and female makerspace staff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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