Date of Award:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
V. Dean Adams (Committee Co-Chair), Sherry Marx (Committee Co-Chair)
V. Dean Adams
African American women are grossly underrepresented in engineering. Despite their low representation in engineering colleges, some are able to persist and earn their degrees. This qualitative study sought to better understand the strategies 10 African American women employed to help them remain resilient in engineering degree programs. For this investigation, there was an underlying assumption that African American women who persist in engineering must contend with stereotype threat. Stereotype threat is a psychosocial phenomenon in which people in stigmatized social categories fear confirming negative stereotypes about their group.
Ten African American female women who have persisted in engineering degree programs were interviewed twice over the course of one academic semester. They also wrote a brief response to an article they were asked to read. The interviews and reading reactions confirmed the assumption that they experienced stereotype threat. Data also disclosed six tools that contributed to their persistence. These tools include: (a) active involvement with the Black community on campus; (b) a strong desire to give back and inspire the next generation of engineers; (c) faith, family, and community; (d) a firm identity/strong sense of self; (e) being proud/passionate/committed to being an engineer; and (f) being advocates for themselves.
Gregory, Stacie LeSure, "African American Female Engineering Students' Persistence in Stereotype-Threatening Environments: A Critical Race Theory Perspective" (2015). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations, Spring 1920 to Summer 2023. 4260.
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