EL PASO — A $525 thousand grant will help fund an interdisciplinary research project called Latinas in Computer Science and Engineering: A Qualitative Study Examining Identity and Agency for Resilience and Persistence at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Engineering and computer science are two professions that have not yet reached gender parity, officials said, and the findings of this research at UTEP will inform stakeholders of ways to modify and extend outreach approaches to broaden participation of Latinas in these fields.
UTEP professors from the departments of Anthropology and Sociology, Teacher Education, Computer Science, Engineering, and Psychology will begin this interdisciplinary collaborative research over the next three years.
Investigators will collect data from approximately 30 Latina undergraduate students using interviews, life charting, and participant observation techniques to investigate how Latinas in engineering make decisions to choose, pursue, and complete engineering and computer science degrees. Factors taken into consideration for this study include socio-economic status, language, cultural knowledge, beliefs, family dynamics and values that may influence them to pursue a degree in these fields.
"Not only does this research project contribute to UTEP's goal of reaching Tier One status, it will enable us to understand the mitigating factors attracting females to engineering that will inform us of ways to increase our female enrollment in engineering and computer science," said Villa, co-director of CREaTE.