Transitioning students navigating engineering identities Conference

Tolbert, D, Hynes, M, Dickerson, D et al. (2015). Transitioning students navigating engineering identities . 2015 10.1109/FIE.2015.7344092

cited authors

  • Tolbert, D; Hynes, M; Dickerson, D; Cardella, M


  • How do transitioning underrepresented minority (URM) students evaluate their engineering ability? To investigate this question seven students in a summer pre-college program provided insight on their confidence in their abilities and were asked to recollect the experiences which helped them make sense of these developing identities. As part of a larger study to investigate the impact of a Midwestern University's Minority Engineering Program's (MEP) impact on the success of its participants, the objective of this component of the study is to qualitatively explore the experiences of Academic Boot Camp (ABC) participants throughout their first year in college. Participants of ABC are students who have been accepted to the University's college of engineering and intend to enroll at the University in the fall semester. ABC is a rigorous five week program which simulates the students' first semester course work to support the students' transition from high school to college. The purpose of this paper is to explore the diverse ways that URM students, who are transitioning into a college engineering program, perceive their confidence in their abilities using Figueiredo's (2008) quadrant of engineering epistemologies. In this study, the engineering epistemologies are also considered engineering identities. Based upon data gathered from the interviews and from the research team's interactions with the students, we can infer that their participation in the Academic Boot Camp supports the students' goals. For these students, goals typically include developing time management strategies, mastering course material, learning and exposing oneself to engineering skills and habits, successfully transitioning from high school to college and remaining true to one's identity. The findings from this study may not only provide qualitative support for the impact of the Minority Engineering Program and its Academic Boot Camp but may also provide insight into ways engineering educators can support the development of both the students' individual and engineering identities.

publication date

  • December 2, 2015

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) 13


  • 2015