First in my Family: An asset-based perspective of first-generation college students’ experiences in engineering
Presented by Dina Verdín, Purdue University
Research and student support efforts in engineering often frame first-generation college students from a deficit perspective, positioning them as passive recipients of their life’s circumstances or as lacking in knowledge. However, these students bring unique experiences and bodies of knowledge to engineering and they are often undervalued or unrecognized. This seminar will discuss three studies, from both qualitative and quantitative approaches, that examine first-generation college students’ experiences in engineering education in order to reframe the conversation about their capabilities and development as engineers. Using identity and funds of knowledge frameworks, these studies weave together Dina Verdín’s multiple strands of research studying access, college transitions, persistence and identity congruence for this population. The goal of this work is to create ways for these students to see themselves valued in the engineering culture and university practices as well as to provide asset-based ways of supporting them in their undergraduate engineering pathways.
About the speaker
Dina Verdín is a PhD candidate in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. She is currently an instructor of record for the first year engineering course series at Purdue University and the lead research consultant on a project in the Colorado School of Mines focused on actualizing the funds of knowledge of first-generation college students in the classroom setting. She holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from San José State University and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University. Her research has focused on understanding the experiences and pathways that have shaped the ways first-generation college students come to see themselves as engineers. Dina has won several research awards including IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference 2018 Best Diversity Paper and Purdue University College of Engineering Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award. Her dissertation work also was selected as one of the top three at the 2018 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in Division D
(Measurement and Research Methodology) In-Progress Research Gala. Dina has authored over 40 journal and conference publications.