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Icon for: Donna Riley

DONNA RILEY

Purdue University

#EngineersShowUp: Critical Action and Advocacy

NSF Awards: 1929320, 1759958

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate, Graduate, Adult learners, Informal / multi-age

We want to challenge the stereotype of the apathetic engineer and show up in solidarity with one another to challenge inequitable cultures in engineering. We want to show the world that #engineersshowup against racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression. We want to focus our actions on resisting systemic injustice.

During the week of February 23-29, 2020, students, faculty, and staff will take concerted actions on campuses around the world, from tweeting support, to hosting reading groups or teach-ins, to pledging to decolonize the engineering curriculum or implement anti-racist, anti-sexist, culturally inclusive, and liberatory pedagogies.

This campaign is part of a wider effort to build social infrastructure for achieving change at scale in engineering and engineering education. 

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Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Donna Riley

    Donna Riley

    Lead Presenter
    Kamyar Haghighi Head and Professor
    May 4, 2020 | 07:29 p.m.

    Hi everyone! Thanks for checking out our video about #EngineersShowUp. How do you show up for others in the struggle against oppressive cultures in engineering and STEM? Let us know below! 

  • May 4, 2020 | 08:03 p.m.

    Wonderful work! At UPR students are also working hard to break barriers related to breaking barriers against sexism, audism, heterosexism among others. We are trying to create safe spaces through student organizations so students can learn to address and manage these types of conducts. 

     
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    Donna Riley
    Becky Mazur
  • Icon for: Jeremy Pina

    Jeremy Pina

    Researcher
    May 5, 2020 | 12:12 p.m.

    I think this is really important work you're doing. It can be difficult to feel effective in stimulating change in environments that are often mired in systemic inequality. 

    I guess my questions are these: What are your future plans for expanding the infrastructure of this project? Where can we expect to see you next? :)

     
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    Donna Riley
    Becky Mazur
  • Icon for: Donna Riley

    Donna Riley

    Lead Presenter
    Kamyar Haghighi Head and Professor
    May 5, 2020 | 05:08 p.m.

    Hi Jeremy, thanks! Our future plans are definitely evolving - our Week of Action happened just as the COVID pandemic was emerging in the US and we have had to regroup some... the original plan was to build momentum through spring with activities at the CONECD conference in April and with the ASEE Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity using the hashtag in its virtual workshops and other work. Now CONECD is postponed till January. We've been hosting conference calls to discuss inequity in the time of COVID and talking about how we can continue to amplify the work of others in this time. 

     
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    Rachel Navarro
  • Icon for: Kacy Redd

    Kacy Redd

    May 5, 2020 | 01:44 p.m.

    This is a great video. You may be interested in the Aspire Alliance IChange Network, which is working with institutions to transform their policies and practices to advance diversity and inclusion with a focus on faculty. Our video is here: https://stemforall2020.videohall.com/presentations/1897

     
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    Donna Riley
  • Icon for: Patti Curtis

    Patti Curtis

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 01:51 p.m.

    I had the honor of meeting Dr Haghighi and I know he would be proud of this effort!  I couldn't tell from the video if there was curricula, lesson plans or other prompts developed for faculty or student groups to use?  How do you plan to extend this effort beyond the week of social media in Feb.  I am sorry to have missed it; I was unaware.  How can I help extend it?  Are you planning to use it as a recruitment tool?  Seems like it would be very engaging. 

  • Icon for: Donna Riley

    Donna Riley

    Lead Presenter
    Kamyar Haghighi Head and Professor
    May 5, 2020 | 04:54 p.m.

    Thanks, that is very kind. I knew him too, and it is one of the great privileges of my career to have the title that bears his name - huge shoes to fill.

    We did develop a space for sharing lesson plans and other resources that can be found at http://engineersshowup.org - some were developed specifically for the Week of Action and other discussions about showing up as allies, advocates, and accomplices - and others had been previously developed by others and were shared in order to amplify that work and extend those efforts.

    For next steps, one of our partners, the ASEE Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is using our hashtag in their virtual programming, and we have activities planned for engagement with the CONECD community (a cross-organizational conference with WEPAN, NAMEPA, and ASEE that was to take place in person last month but is postponed til January). We've had a couple of community videoconference calls to simply be together and talk about what work we need to do now, and we have been chatting about how issues of (in)equity are revealing themselves through this pandemic, and how we can continue to disrupt oppressive systems in this new moment... more to come on that for sure! 

  • Icon for: Becky Mazur

    Becky Mazur

    Research and Evaluation Specialist
    May 5, 2020 | 02:40 p.m.

    This is awesome! My answer to your question is: I'm really proud of projects that I am (or have been) a part of projects that seek to bring dynamic, culturally-responsive STEM learning to under-resourced districts. Empowering more young women and students of color to be a part of STEM disciplines feels like one way to disrupt structures of oppression.

    Also, I want to say that your video brought to mind a great book I read recently, Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez, that talked about a number of ways the design of most things we use favors men's bodies (and ways of being) over women's. 

     
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    Donna Riley
  • Icon for: Marjorie Bequette

    Marjorie Bequette

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 04:36 p.m.

    Thanks for the video and for all the work that sits behind it. 

    What are the key tools that you want the engineers of tomorrow to be learning now so that they can be part of this change?

     
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    Donna Riley
  • Icon for: Donna Riley

    Donna Riley

    Lead Presenter
    Kamyar Haghighi Head and Professor
    May 5, 2020 | 05:14 p.m.

    I think engineers crucially need an understanding of power and privilege, and how these play out not only in matters of identity but also in the organizations and institution of the profession. They need empathy and listening skills, and a sense of true solidarity or accompaniment (showing up) in their work with the public and community members. 

     
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    Rachel Navarro
  • Icon for: Marjorie Bequette

    Marjorie Bequette

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 06:43 p.m.

    Thanks -- those sound like important skills. I wonder about how K-12 engineering education (since there is more and more of that happening) can contribute...

     
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    Jessica Gale
    Donna Riley
  • Icon for: Donna Riley

    Donna Riley

    Lead Presenter
    Kamyar Haghighi Head and Professor
    May 5, 2020 | 07:55 p.m.

    I definitely think there is a lot that happens in K-12 that is formative around these particular skillsets. Learning about difference, and learning about how to interrupt bullying and stand up for one another happens at all ages. Making connections between those lessons and engineering is essential, so science and engineering can't be compartmentalized and cordoned off away from these elements. K-12 offers unique opportunities to integrate or harmonize learning across subject areas - though some of the recent reforms have unfortunately made that more difficult. 

  • Icon for: Rachel Navarro

    Rachel Navarro

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 5, 2020 | 09:37 p.m.

    Great project! As a vocational psychologist, I have been studying the persistence of Latinx students in engineering over the last 10 years. I am learning to own my power, privilege and knowledge to call out oppression, injustices, and structural inequities. I recently did a campus wide lecture focused on bolstering Latinxs' persistence in engineering majors and jobs where I questionned why our institution is not doing this work when we are seeing a 135% increase in Latinx persons in our state. It was surprising well received and I hope to harness this reaction to push for institutional change. 

  • Icon for: Sarah Dunton

    Sarah Dunton

    Researcher
    May 7, 2020 | 10:53 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing about your project. I plan to keep showing up and will certainly follow the work of #engineersShowUp! 

     
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    Beth McGinnis-Cavanaugh
    Donna Riley
  • Icon for: Kate Lytton

    Kate Lytton

    Director of Research and Evaluation
    May 7, 2020 | 04:18 p.m.

    Thanks so much for bringing this voice and messaging into this forum and everywhere else.  This is really exciting!

    I often show up in a quiet kind of way, through asking questions that help us think about how deeply embedded racism and sexism create an unfriendly environment, how images of what engineers look like may not encourage participation by historically marginalized groups, and by the bigger questions about how STEM research paradigms and traditional pedagogies are so shaped by a white, partriarchal culture from which they emerged (and which they tend to replicate). I am always looking for questions and examples grounded in real-life AND for alternative realities to share. 

  • Icon for: Jameela Jafri

    Jameela Jafri

    Facilitator
    May 7, 2020 | 04:49 p.m.

    I think this is really important work because it pushes the conversation around equity beyond access and diversity towards an understanding of the systemic challenges in broadening participation. In particular, using engineering towards social justice, moral, and political ends is profound and meaningful. Can you share a little about how your campaign is re-imagining engineering as a way to serve the needs of communities and how it acknowledges the historic oppression of certain populations (e.g. Keystone Pipeline). 

     
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    Ellen Foster
    Donna Riley
  • Icon for: Ellen Foster

    Ellen Foster

    Researcher
    May 11, 2020 | 02:32 p.m.

    Hi Jameela, I'm part of the research team engaged in this work. Thank you for your inquiry about the important issue of community engagement and engineering issues. 

    There are many conversations and offshoots of initiatives that talk about these historic oppressions and work to shift the reproduction of these issues that we hope to highlight as well as foster in this campaign. We have drawn attention via our website and Twitter account to engineering projects and practices that center the needs of different communities, and work with community expertise, knowledge, and needs for community projects and activism – away from extraction and co-optation.

    We also hope to foster critical discussion and attention to the issues of how various populations and communities have been oppressed historically, how things might be otherwise, and how engineering education could (and should) shift the narrative. During the February week of action, a panel was held at Drexel University that grappled with these very issues. Participants included a Drexel administrator working on community engagement (who has a background in critically-engaged science and technology studies), professors from political science, peace engineering, and history of technology who all work on historic issues of oppression in these regards (particularly environmental racism), as well as a community activist working on issues of lead in water. This is just one example of ways to give more weight and focus to these historically charged topics within engineering and to expose engineering students and educators to local community needs and efforts. But of course more work can and should be done to more fully and deeply change practices.

  • Icon for: Cara Shopa

    Cara Shopa

    Indige-FEWSS Program Coordinator
    May 7, 2020 | 07:53 p.m.

    Thanks for this creative video and empowering message. I work on the Indige-FEWSS NSF-NRT grant at University of Arizona where we are training Native American and non-Native graduate student engineers and where we are developing curriculum for undergraduate engineering students at TCUs (Tribal Colleges and Universities). These students and the TEK (traditional ecological knowledge) of tribes are also underrepresented in STEM and engineering in particular. 

    I wonder if you could post more about your pledge and work to decolonize engineering curriculum? 

     
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    Ellen Foster
    Donna Riley
  • Icon for: Donna Riley

    Donna Riley

    Lead Presenter
    Kamyar Haghighi Head and Professor
    May 8, 2020 | 08:22 a.m.

    Thanks for your work in this area! Very cool! #EngineersShowUp seeks to amplify the work of others and deepen our understandings of relations of power across different modes of oppression. If we can help disseminate some of the resources you are developing within our networks, we'd be happy to do so! 

    Engineering's history of facilitating colonization is long and profound, and it infuses everything about engineering's epistemologies and pedagogies. In my own work I've tried to start with raising that awareness, and with exposing some of the colonizing logics inherent in many engineering-to-help efforts that assume that only certain ways of knowing have value, and position certain groups with decision making power while disenfranchising or marginalizing others. 

    I've long been a fan of the work at Oglala Lakota College as part of NSF's PEEC program, that centers engineering education within a larger goal of Tribal Sovereignty. They bring engineering into alignment with the tribe's non-extraction commitments, and with the college's and tribe's non-abandonment principles that give every student support and opportunity to learn for as long as they need, and employ pedagogies that align with these commitments. 

    I'm also a fan of Deana Burgart's (https://www.indigeneering.com/) intersectional approach and looking forward to her distinguished lecture at ASEE next month! 

  • Icon for: Ellen Foster

    Ellen Foster

    Researcher
    May 11, 2020 | 02:35 p.m.

    That sounds like incredible work, and it is those very kinds of initiatives to which we hope to bring more attention toward, working together to give voice to such endeavors. To reiterate Donna, we would love to share the resources and link to your work as an example of what can be done to further decolonize engineering curriculum. We have also begun collecting other resources and work in that regard – the idea being that we will build a network and connect resources from different communities addressing different forms of oppression within engineering education. We hope to create a mode of sharing and connecting to break down such deeply embedded oppressions bit by bit.

     

    Also as a further FYI: the reading lists, curricula, and lesson modules currently up on our website were created and gathered by a smaller group of participants who were part of the initial week of action and were excited to share their resources for addressing particular oppressions that work to combat such as classism, racism, and homophobia in engineering. It is not exhaustive nor complete, and this section (as well as the whole website really) are intended as a living document – a work in progress that can shift and change with those who are previously and currently a part of the working group. Our regular meetings/calls are also open to any and all who want to take part if you want to join in your voice about the importance of decolonizing engineering curricula.

  • May 8, 2020 | 10:44 a.m.

    This is such critical work. I'm looking forward to following #EngineersShowUP and sharing with colleagues in engineering ed. All the engineers showing up can be such powerful role models for both undergraduate and K-12 students considering engineering. Will the campaign take place the same week in 2021?

     
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    Ellen Foster
  • Icon for: Ellen Foster

    Ellen Foster

    Researcher
    May 11, 2020 | 02:38 p.m.

    Thank you for your interest and encouraging words!

    The idea and hope is to have this become a continuing conversation at various conferences and certainly beyond the bounding of a week of action even (which was intended as a goal to organize toward and as a jumping-off point for raising awareness towards facilitating deeper change).

    However, we also found that having a week of focus where we really drive home the initiative and various actions is powerful. We have yet to set an exact date for 2021 and what it might look like, but we are hoping that it can become a regular happening that generates and grows the conversation and practices in various ways. And if there is enough interest in the community at large, we want it to become a regular, annual happening. That particular week in February following engineering week did feel like it made sense for various reasons.

  • May 12, 2020 | 04:25 p.m.

    This is brave, interesting and radical work you are doing.  I applaud you as well as feel inspired to continue to fight the fact against the "isms" you identify in the video. I know that engineering can be a conservative field (as can so many other fields of knowledge production and professionalization) but given your approaches, I do believe your persistence and bravery really can make critically important inroads to change.  Thank you for what you do!

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