Blog Post

Introduction to FSDW15

While my profile is current in this HASTAC forum, it really doesn't say much about who I really am and why I am participating in the Feminist Scholars Digital Workshop. Well, that is what this introduction is for, I suppose.

 

About me: I have been practicing mechanical engineering for over 25 years - wow, that makes me feel old -- and have been teaching for a good portion of that while maintaining my practice. Over the last decade, I have become increasingly aware of the limitations that women face in engineering. Although the f-word was a difficult one for me to consider, since I began my doctorate two years ago I have been encouraged to explore feminism and the feminist influences on curriculum and on the perceptions of our society about gendered careers.

 

About my project: My doctoral research project is aimed at increasing the number of women in engineering by focusing on the transition between high school physics classes. In British Columbia, physics classes are a surprising (to me) 50% female in many schools, yet engineering educational programs that apply physics, like mechanical engineering, are equally surprisingly approximately 10% female in many institutions. I recently analyzed the data at my college and pulled the subset of students that arrived with high school physics credit. I discovered that 40% of this population is female. Of the women, 4% enter engineering-type programs.

 

What I'd like to get out of the workshop: The piece I am submitting to my group is a paper about this analysis, and I need help framing it so that it can be published. I do not have a strong theoretical academic background so I invite suggestions about how to make this paper more likely to be accepted for publication. I come from an applied background that has been quite androcentric; I am appalled at the low (sometimes non-existent) number of women in my classes. I am curious about the studies I have read that expose the hidden biases that persist in high schools, especially with physics teachers and counsellors. With my passion and insider existence, I believe I need to write from an unbiased, neutral standpoint to best engage my colleagues.

I am looking forward to the feedback I receive...

 

Looking forward to connecting,

Kathy

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