My research has focused on two broad yet related areas: 1) broadening participation and improving the inclusion of students of color within engineering; and 2) improving collaboration and teamwork for students and faculty within projects designed to mimic professional engineering work. I study student and faculty experiences using all three methodologies common in engineering education research (quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods) for the purpose of enhancing the experience of marginalized groups in engineering.
Equity, Empathy and Excellence (the E3) are core components of all my work as a researcher and scholar for supporting difficult conversations in engineering. Specifically, highlighting inequity in student experiences is a consistent theme in multiple projects that focus on different marginalized groups. For example, I have published on challenges unique to women of color in engineering and used an intersectional framework. Empathy is included in my research by emphasizing participant voices that critique the culture rather than blame students. I amplify the voice of marginalized groups in two projects focused on women of color (Grant # 1900530) and studying the LGBTQ+ identified in STEM (Grant # 1748473). Also, empathy is the motive for my work on the NSF CAREER project (Grant # 2145884) where I supplement the lack of official training or professional development opportunities regarding DEI for engineering faculty. Finally, I intentionally strive for excellence in my research and scholarship by constantly emphasizing aspects of research quality with collaborators (N=25) and students (N=30). As a result, my paper on African American males (Cross et al., 2020) is being used as an exemplar for qualitative research and the phenomenological methodology. Also, my paper on student stress in the premier journal for my field, Journal of Engineering Education (JEE), is an exemplar of addressing aggregating or disaggregating underrepresented groups in quantitative research.