Currently, the engineering community faces shortages. These shortages can be conceptualized as both literal shortages of numbers, particularly females, and a more conceptual shortage of engineers who are trained and qualified to handle the transitioning global context of the profession. With its rapid growth, high female involvement, and global vision, Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA) stands as a prime research model for the larger engineering field. During a series of five regional EWB-USA workshops, participants were asked to respond to six open-ended questions dealing with identity and gains from their involvement. Thousands of unique responses were coded into emergent themes to identify the most common responses and to compare response themes across questions. Results suggest that EWB-USA members identify strongly with the organization, which may increase their identity with and motivation to remain in the profession. Results also show that EWB-USA members are filling significant education gaps from their organizational involvement and are gaining the desirable global engineering qualities required within the field. These results help unpack the motivations driving EWB-USA members and gains from their membership that may help, through future curriculum development, attract and retain a diverse engineering population able to handle future challenges required by the profession.
Litchfield, K. and Javernick-Will, A. (2012). “Perceptions of Engineering Identity: Diversity and EWB-USA.” Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Frontiers in Education Conference. Seattle, WA.