Collaborative Research: Gender Diversity, Identity and EWB-USAEngineers face challenges to grow, diversify, and more broadly prepare their profession for a rapidlychanging world. With the complexity of these challenges, the profession can learn from betterunderstanding unique examples of success at achieving these challenges. Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA) exhibits many of the attributes of a desirable engineering population. Growing to13,800 members in eleven years, consisting of over 40% females, and boasting of broad educationalgains, EWB-USA serves as an important research context.This NSF-REE funded research uses a sequential mixed-methods approach to explore the success ofEWB-USA. First, qualitative data was collected through (1) open-ended response forms at regional EWB-USA conferences and (2) through interviews and focus groups which were held with 165 engineers fromaround the country both involved and not involved with the organization. Major emerging trendssuggested that EWB-USA engineers possess unique qualities from more traditional engineers such asatypical motivations, more outgoing and open personality types, more professional skills gained, and alarger struggle with issues of identity and persistence in traditional engineering. These trends have beenused to develop a survey to test these characteristics on a broader scale, which has been piloted with alarge research-based university, analyzed, and deployed to EWB-USA, ASCE, ASME, and SWEmemberships. This poster presentation will summarize the qualitative findings and share thepreliminary quantitative survey findings for this project. Predicted contributions from this work extendto industry recruiting and retention and to educational curricular reform.
Litchfield, K., Javernick-Will, A., and Leslie, C. (2014). “Collaborative Research: Gender Diversity, Identity and EWB-USA.” American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition. Indianapolis, IN.