The theoretical framework for the analysis is to use intersectionality of critical race theory and specifically focusing on the intersection of race/ethnicity and gender. Thus, questions for the interview guide were developed in consultation with two social scientists with expertise on race and gender; as well as consulting two underrepresented minority undergraduate engineering students, one male and one female, who were leaders in their engineering societies and who did not take part in the study. The research included students who self-identified, meaning they were asked if they had prior or current experience in leadership roles as a student and if they answered in the affirmative, they were included in the recruitment pool and the research was approved by the institution review board for human subject research. This research aims to addressing the knowledge gap on professional development of leadership skills by researching the following questions: What are the leadership experiences of undergraduate engineering students? What factors act as stressors which may negatively impact their resilience or perseverance to be leaders?
Within this paper, the author will present the results on identity, leadership skills and attributes and propose where negative stressors act on the experiences in positional leadership roles for undergraduate engineering students.
This research was conducted using a constructivism paradigm to frame the research to explore how existing structures of power among students in an academic environment result in different factors that affect leadership development of undergraduate engineering students. Narratives were collected using one-on-one interview to elicited differences in perspectives within social subgroups that are outside of the dominant group (i.e. White males) for engineering professions. Grounded Theory as the conceptual framework used in analysis of these interviews using Charmaz’s approach for performing the analysis of the qualitative interviews. Questions for the interview guide were developed in consultation with two social scientists with expertise on race and gender; as well as consulting two underrepresented minority undergraduate engineering students, one male and one female, who were leaders in their engineering societies and who did not take part in the study.
Using Grounded Theory by Charmaz, the interviews were coded line-by-line using gerunds and the constant comparative method was used to develop a code book during the focused coding phase. From the focused coding, constructs, i.e. categories, were developed. Analytical memos were also concurrently maintained during the coding processes. Axial coding, again using intersectionality and more specifically an intercategory approach, was done after the initial focused coding was completed. From the category development, the types of external stressors and the negative adaptation methods of the students were studied and the effects on motivation and perseverance in organizational leadership were conceptually modeled on the individual level.
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