What Difference Does Difference Make? A Case Study of Racial and Ethnic Diversity in a Summer Intensive Research Institute

Tryphenia B. Peele-Eady, Tahira Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


In this paper, we draw on the tenets of culturally responsive pedagogy and the communities of practice framework to explore how differences, specifically race, ethnicity, and gender, functioned in a Summer Intensive Research Institute (SIRI). Part of a larger NSF research project, SIRI was designed to increase persistence and diversity in engineering and cyber-physical systems (CPS) education and in the workforce. For eight weeks, two cohorts of students from mostly historically underrepresented and minoritized backgrounds participated in the SIRI program. Data included transcripts of interviews with SIRI participants. Analyses of students' narratives show that race, ethnicity, and gender supported the students' identity formation as engineering and CPS learners. Their experience in the program centered on the quality of the relationships they formed with peers, mentors, and faculty supervisors; high expectations for performance in the program; the alignment of content with their research and career interests; and the varied resources to which students had access and took up as part of their learning. Implications for STEM learning in higher education institutions are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 25 2023
Event2023 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - The Harbor of Engineering: Education for 130 Years, ASEE 2023 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2023Jun 28 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering

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