Study Design

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FACETS Theory

The idea of “crystallized self” provides a foundation for our work. We view students’ identities like crystals with multiple facets. A student may be a mother, sibling, soccer player, Catholic and Latina. She should not feel like she must hide or shed facets of her identity in order to become an engineer. Our goal is to cultivate a culture in which each student can live “a life wrapped in a quilt of many colors rather than one suffocated by a monochromatic blanket”. Approaches like this has previously been linked to retention.

We view engineering as a fundamentally human endeavor—engineers solve human problems. From this point of view, these diverse facets to students identities are not only permissible, but also relevant to engineering. Their identities are assets.

Asset-based approaches are successful, especially for rural, Latino, low income, and first generation students.


study design