Socio-cultural theory shows that significant learning takes place during social interactions and lack of opportunity to interact with others can have detrimental impact on learning outcomes. Moreover, not having others whom students deem to be “like me” can lead to feelings of not belonging in the field. Unfortunately, many students feel isolated and this isolation affects persistence and success in college-level Engineering courses. Given these oftentimes detrimental conditions, this investigation represents an exploration to understand the ways in which women, a group notoriously underrepresented in Engineering, feel connected to others in their Engineering classes, how this is related to their feelings of belonging, and how feelings of belonging are related to their academic outcomes. Specifically, we examined the ways in which students understand, find, and utilize study partners as supports for feelings of belonging and for learning engineering content. Survey results from students in three large undergraduate Engineering courses (N = 157) suggest that obstacles to finding study partners may adversely affect sense of belonging, participation, and learning outcomes. This investigation provides insights into these equity challenges and the results suggest new strategies for equitable interventions to support all students-and particularly those from groups underrepresented in engineering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jul 26 2021
Event2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jul 26 2021Jul 29 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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