Uncovering latent diversity: Steps towards understanding 'What counts' and 'Who belongs' in engineering culture

Brianna Shani Benedict, Dina Verdín, Rachel Ann Baker, Allison Godwin, Thaddeus Milton

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Curricular expectations for engineering students are steadily expanding to encompass a diverse set of competencies and skills that ensure students are prepared to address the global challenges of engineering. This expansion highlights a need for educators to not only rethink how they educate the next generation of engineers, but also a need to cultivate "diversity of thought" within the culture of engineering. Earlier studies about diversity have focused on understanding how to increase the number of underrepresented students (i.e., women, students of color, and first-generation college students) who persist in STEM fields. However, there is a shift in how we (i.e., society, industry, and academia) define what it means to be diverse. In this paper, we examined how 12 diverse first-year engineering students described how their peers enact different ways of thinking and being in engineering, as well as how those differences influence whether their peers are perceived as someone who belongs in engineering. The participants acknowledged the cultural and gender differences among their peers; however, they primarily described how their peers were different based on their skill-set (i.e., technical, creative, and interpersonal), ways of thinking, and interests. These findings begin to help us understand how students define normative attitudes in engineering and the perception of what it means to be an engineer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 23 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event125th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2018Dec 27 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Uncovering latent diversity: Steps towards understanding 'What counts' and 'Who belongs' in engineering culture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this