First-generation college students and othering in undergraduate engineering

Harriet Hartman, Ralph Alan Dusseau, Beena Sukumaran, Stephanie Farrell, Tiago R. Forin, Stephanie Lezotte, Kauser Jahan, Sarah K. Bauer, Danilo Zeppilli

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


First-generation college students face considerable obstacles to college success, including a lack of role models in the family, a lack of familial mentoring and support, a lack of familiarity with the college climate, and, generally, lower socioeconomic status. For the most part, first-generation students carry an invisible minority mark. As such, they may share with other minority statuses a sense of “otherness” from the mainstream college student, and consequent obstacles to self-confidence and -efficacy, weaker academic achievement, uncertainty of future plans in their majors, and a weaker sense of being part of the (student) community in their major. Engineering students are not an exception, and successful achievement of an undergraduate degree in engineering may hinge on finding an inclusive and welcoming climate as well as nurturing professors and students. The current study focuses on first-generation engineering students at a public university in the MidAtlantic. The data are drawn from a baseline survey about the climate for diversity and inclusion administered to all engineering college students in the Fall of 2016. Suggested supports for first-generation students are discussed in the paper's conclusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


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