Free ticketed event
For the past two years, our team of three engineering education researchers developed, validated, and administered a survey at 10 engineering education institutions to find out how funds of knowledge from households and work of low-income, first-generation (LIFG) students might contribute to their success in engineering programs. Based on previous ethnographic research, we developed the following funds of knowledge constructs: tinkering knowledge from home, tinkering knowledge from work, connecting experiences, networks from family members, networks from college friends, networks from coworkers, networks from neighborhood friends, perspective taking, reading people, and mediational skills. We now have results that show how these contribute to LIFG students’ success in engineering.
The three facilitators have run roundtables at ASEE conferences for the past two years on low-income, first-generation students in engineering. Through this workshop, they want to bring together their research results with the emerging networks of engineering educators and advocates interested in the success of LIFG students in engineering.
The workshop will begin with a presentation of the results of a structural equation model that drives the need to brainstorm strategies to connect LIFG students’ funds of knowledge to engineering classroom content. Some of the main findings from this model are 1) LIFG students’ funds of knowledge support their beliefs about their ability to understand and perform well in engineering; 2) there is a lack of connection between LIFG students’ home or work experiences to their sense of belonging in the classroom; and 3) there is a negative relationship between LIFG students’ ability to leverage their hobbies/home activities to scaffold what they are currently learning in engineering and their confidence in graduating with an engineering degree. Based on these findings, we have identified that it’s important that LIFG students to see their experiences as sources of knowledge towards performing well and understanding engineering content as this pathway support their sense of belonging in the classroom and certainty of graduating with an engineering degree.
Groups then will brainstorm and report out best strategies to leverage LIFG students’ funds of knowledge in the classroom setting as well as brainstorm ipossible outlets for these strategies so they can effectively be used by LIFG students.
About the Workshop Facilitators
Dina Verdín, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of engineering education systems and design at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on changing the deficit perspective of students who are the first in their families to attend college by providing asset-based approaches to understanding this population. She is interested in understanding how first-generation college students’ author their identities as engineers and enact their agency towards changing their environment.
Jessica Smith, Ph.D., is an associate professor of anthropology in the Division of Engineering, Design, and Society at Colorado School of Mines. She has directed two National Science Foundation-funded research projects on the experiences of LIFG students in engineering, led multiple workshops for engineering educators, and published on women in historically masculine occupations, including her 2014 book Mining Coal and Undermining Gender.
Juan Lucena, Ph.D., is a professor of humanitarian engineering in the Division of Engineering, Design, and Society at Colorado School of Mines. He is the author of the book Defending the Nation (a history of how underrepresented groups in STEM were called to defend different national interests at different times in the second half of the 20th century) and has led numerous workshops in engineering education in national and international venues.
Dina Verdín is an assistant professor of engineering education systems and design in the Polytechnic School of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. She graduated from San José State University with a B.S. in industrial systems engineering and from Purdue University with an M.S. in industrial engineering and Ph.D. in engineering education. Verdin is a 2016 recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship and an honorable mention for the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program. Her research interest focuses on changing the deficit base perspective of first-generation college students by providing asset-based approaches to understanding this population. Verdin is interested in understanding how first-generation college students author their identities as engineers and negotiate their multiple identities in the current culture of engineering. She has won several awards, including the 2018 ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference Best Diversity Paper Award, the 2019 College of Engineering Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, and the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Distinguished Scholar Award. Her dissertation proposal was selected as part of the top three in the 2018 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division D In-Progress Research Gala.
Jessica M. Smith is an associate professor in the Engineering, Design, and Society Division at the Colorado School of Mines and co-director of Humanitarian Engineering. She is an anthropologist with two major research areas: 1) the sociocultural dynamics of extractive and energy industries, with a focus on corporate social responsibility, social justice, labor, and gender, and 2) engineering education, with a focus on socioeconomic class and social responsibility. She is currently completing a book manuscript on the intersection of engineering and corporate social responsibility. She is the author of Mining Coal and Undermining Gender: Rhythms of Work and Family in the American West (Rutgers University Press, 2014), which was funded by the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2016, the National Academy of Engineering recognized her Corporate Social Responsibility course as a national exemplar in teaching engineering ethics. Smith holds a Ph.D. in anthropology and a certificate in women’s studies from the University of Michigan and bachelor’s degrees in international studies, anthropology, and Latin American studies from Macalester College.
Juan Lucena is professor and director of humanitarian engineering undergraduate programs and outreach in the Engineering, Design, and Society Division of the Colorado School of Mines. He obtained a Ph.D. in science and technology studies (STS) from Virginia Tech and an M.S. in STS and B.S. in mechanical and aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His books include Defending the Nation: U.S. Policymaking to Create Scientists and Engineers from Sputnik to the ’War Against Terrorism’ (University Press of America, 2005), Engineering and Sustainable Community Development (Morgan & Claypool, 2010), Engineering Education for Social Justice: Critical Explorations and Opportunities (Springer, 2013), and Engineering Justice (with Jon Leydens, Wiley, 2018).