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Please join Cassandra (Groen) McCall, post-doctoral research associate at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, for the seminar, “Becoming an Engineer: Challenging Traditional and Normative Conceptions of Engineering through Identity,” on Monday, February 25, 2019!

Becoming an Engineer: Challenging Traditional and Normative Conceptions of Engineering through Identity
Presented by Cassandra (Groen) McCall, post-doctoral research associate, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Monday, February 25, 2019
10–11 a.m.
Santa Catalina (SANCA) 151, Polytechnic campus [map]

This seminar is free and available via Zoom Video Conferencing.


The experiences encountered by students during undergraduate engineering education can markedly impact the ways in which they engage in school, define their discipline and form identities as engineers. While prior work has established a significant link between student identification with their major and persistence in the engineering field, little is known about the ways in which students conceptualize the field and form professional identities as engineers, particularly within the disciplines. In this talk, McCall describes her work exploring the diverse backgrounds and pathways by which students come to know, identify with and become engineers. Specifically, she focuses this work on students in civil engineering, with and without disabilities. McCall concludes this discussion with implications for engineering education research and practice, particularly relating strategies that challenge traditional and normative conceptions of who engineers are and what they do to promote student engagement and inclusion.

About the speaker

Cassandra McCall is a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and a doctorate in engineering education from Virginia Tech. Her research interests include exploring professional identity formation of undergraduate engineering students and the in- and out-of-class experiences that shape them. She is also interested in the application of Grounded Theory and other qualitative methods to gain a nuanced understanding of individual student experiences. McCall has extensive research experience in engineering education, which includes several publications and an NSF-funded project examining the professional identity formation of undergraduate students with disabilities.

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