Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date

10-2017

Conference/Sponsorship/Institution

IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)

Location

Indianapolis (Ind.)

Department

Computer Engineering

Second Department

Chemical Engineering

Abstract

Seeing themselves represented in the role models they aspire to, has been shown to be important to students' sense of belonging and success. Underrepresented college students in STEM fields are exposed to only a small set of role models. This set often consist of famous individuals with extraordinary stories (we call these outliers), and represent unfeasible paths to success for a large majority of these students. We aim to remedy this by identifying a set of role models who represent more feasible paths to success (we call these non-outliers) for many underrepresented students. We contend that, despite the less extraordinary success and stories of non-outliers, they share important qualities with outliers. We envision a “People Like Me” website based on profiles of this broader set of role models that can be used as a tool for recruitment and retention. Our current work is to (1) identify role model qualities from the perspective of students, (2) identify and create profiles of non-outlier role models based on these qualities, and (3) test if students are accepting of these non-outliers as potential role models. We have completed steps (1) and (2), and have found that non-outliers do exhibit the qualities our student sample pool seeks in role models.

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