2021 CoNECD

To Code-Switch or Not to Code-Switch: The Psychosocial Ramifications of Being a Resilient Black Female Engineering & Computing Doctoral Student

Presented at CoNECD Session : Day 1 Slot 6 Technical Session 2

The objective of this qualitative study was to both examine and understand Black women’s educational experiences concerning code-switching while enrolled in their engineering and computing doctoral programs (n=23). Code-switching can be defined as changing or altering how an individual acts or behaves within a particular setting. Utilizing Black Feminist Thought as a theoretical construct to contextualize this study, it was discovered that Black women code-switched because they experienced race and gender bias, encountered negative stereotypes (i.e., the angry Black woman, Black sounding names), as well as a host of other challenges. These reasons were found to lead to anxiety and stress among Black women. To cope with the effects of code-switching, Black female engineers and computer scientists relied on their families and friends for support and mentorship from their advisors to thrive and succeed in their degree programs.

  1. Ms. Breauna Marie Spencer University of California, Irvine [biography]
  2. Dr. Sharnnia Artis University of California, Irvine [biography]
  3. Dr. Marjorie C Shavers Heidelberg University [biography]
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