Professional identity development in civil engineering students with disabilities

Professional identity development in civil engineering students with disabilities

Currently available statistics suggest that between 11 and 15% of U.S. college students identify as individuals with disabilities, yet little work addresses identity development within this population broadly, and even less explores their experiences within engineering. The proposed project addresses the call for studies on the “development of identity as an engineer and its intersection with other identities” by conducting a longitudinal study of students with disabilities in civil engineering. To meet this need, we will use constructivist grounded theory to study two cohorts over three years. The proposed project addresses a significant gap in the research on the professional formation of engineers by extending an emergent theoretical model of identity development in civil engineering to students with disabilities as they advance through their degree program and into the workforce. Our longitudinal approach advances our understanding of undergraduate development by capturing both how and why individuals with disabilities merge and negotiate personal and professional identities through these changes over time. The model developed in this study can then be used by researchers in other engineering fields and, potentially, beyond engineering to facilitate a more robust and nuanced understanding of how students with disabilities develop identities in college.


Note:  When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher.

Groen, C. J. and McNair, L. D. and Paretti, M. C. and Simmons, D. R. and Shew, A.. “Board 52: Exploring Professional Identity Development in Undergraduate Civil Engineering Students Who Experience Disabilities,” 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, 2018

Groen, C. J. and Paretti, M. C. and McNair, L. D. and Simmons, D. R. and Shew, A.. “Exploring professional identity development in undergraduate civil engineering students who experience disabilities,” 2018 CoNECD – The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, 2018.