“I Don't Like Thinking About this Stuff”: Black and Brown Student Experiences in Engineering Education Conference

Grant, J, Masta, S, Dickerson, DA et al. (2022). “I Don't Like Thinking About this Stuff”: Black and Brown Student Experiences in Engineering Education .

cited authors

  • Grant, J; Masta, S; Dickerson, DA; Pawley, AL; Ohland, MW


  • In this paper, we discuss the results from our study on the experiences of first-year Black and Brown engineering students in engineering teams. This work is part of ongoing research on identifying teams engaging in marginalizing behaviors against minoritized (race, gender, LGBTQ identity, nationality) students. Using a diary study methodology, we explore the team experiences of Black and Brown students by examining two research questions: 1) what does racial marginalization look like within engineering classrooms where teamwork is a primary feature and 2) what experiences from the dairies inform researchers and faculty about participants' experiences and personal knowledge of how race and racism operates in teams. We identified two central themes: 1) participants often avoided conversations when race could be a potential topic, and 2) participants believed that racism was a normal part of teams (in both the classroom and workplace). Participants explained that even if race was not explicitly discussed during their group work, they sensed that implicit bias and discrimination were affecting their experience. Further, when we asked participants how to increase support related to their teaming experience, they reported feeling unsure of what can be done to eliminate behaviors of racism and marginalization from engineering education. The participants expressed that change needed to happen so that other Black and Brown students are welcomed into the field, but that no one on campus (peers, faculty, and staff) has asked them about ideas for change. This diary study provides important insights into how Black and Brown engineering students contextualize their experience with marginalizing behaviors in teams.

publication date

  • August 23, 2022