WWP aims to understand why women persist in the field of engineering despite the barriers they face. Women of Color, specifically in the professoriate and in engineering have employed multiple strategies to attain success despite obstacles related to their race, gender, and class. Many challenges—and strategies to overcome them—are common to women of Color scientists, engineers, and faculty (as well as other STEM-related disciplines).

The three-year study, “Why We Persist: An Intersectional Study to Characterize and Examine the Experiences of Women Tenure-Track Faculty in Engineering,” is backed by a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Principal investigator Monica F. Cox, chair of the Department of Engineering Education, received the funding in 2015. The study is co-led by Dr Joyce Main at Purdue University and Ebony McGee at Vanderbilt University.

Advisory Board Meeting 2018
Dr. Ebony McGee (left), Dr. Monica Cox (middle), Dr. Monica Ridgeway

Project Goals

  1. To apply an intersectionality framework to identify why tenure-track women of color across ranks, disciplines, and diverse institution types persist as engineering faculty.
  2. To compile and analyze longitudinal data of faculty Women of Color (WoC) in engineering using the American Society for Engineering Education database.
  3. To report similarities and differences in horizontal and vertical intersectionality across WoC groups via the collection and analyses of narratives of engineering WoC tenure-track faculty.
  4. To create a mixed methods protocol for understanding the experiences of WoC that can be applied in other STEM disciplines in an effort to encourage institutional diversity.
  5. To integrate research with practice via the creation of webinars and other deliverables that have the potential to engage a variety of stakeholders in conversations about disaggregated disciplinary perspectives of engineering WoC.
  6. To develop a national survey/scale investigating the perspectives of women engineering faculty at U.S. engineering institutions on issues of intersectionality.