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Discussion

The findings reveal how the participating FGLS arrived at SU with a depth of capital, interwoven assets, and goals that fueled their motivation to pursue engineering. Furthermore, they drew upon their identities and found strength within them as they navigated microaggressions and stereotypes experienced within the engineering climate. The students articulated communal goals for their families and communities, while drawing upon their resistant, familial, social, and aspirational forms of capital.

Overall, the students’ statements reinforce findings regarding a form of CCW to complement Yosso’s (2005) model: pluriversal (Rendon et al., 2019). A pluriversal form of capital is a Latina’s ability' to hold multiple meanings and consciousnesses simultaneously and draw upon that as a strength. Their strength is derived from multiple modes or even conflicting identities (Rendon et al., 2019). As women in a male-dominated field, they' found fuel to persist. As Latinas in a predominantly' White field, they' held on to their aspirations.

Additionally', their increased consciousness and aspirations supported their internalized beliefs and drive to succeed. This could also be described as a sense of autonomy (Benard, 2004), defined as “an ability to act independently and feel a sense of control over one’s environment” (Benard, 2004, p. 20). They described the agency they felt in being able to shape their careers and life outcomes through their aspirational and navigational capital. Autonomy is one of four main categories of resiliency, which refers to the activation of innate capacities to succeed despite barriers, such as a negative racial climate (Benard, 2004). This aligns with Romasanta’s (2016) findings that FGLS develop their academic resiliency by engaging forms of CCW. Essentially, FGLS operationalize their forms of CCW as resiliency capital (Romasanta, 2016). Thus, this study' further supports the connection between CCW and resiliency through the cultivation of assets within a hostile climate.

Finally, the assets became apparent to advisors through the advising interventions, which were designed to capture counterstories. Developmental advising definitions often describe what an advisor should discuss in a meeting as an advisee’s goals, plans, and interests (O’Banion, 1994). However, this fails to capture the nuance of the ty'pes of discussions that should be occurring for minoritized students. Spaces that promote empowerment and resilience emerge as critical factors for academic and lifelong success (Benard, 2004; Perez Huber & Cueva, 2012). Therefore, rather than focusing on remediation through programming, colleges should instead explore how asset-based frameworks can be employed to reframe existing programming.

Conclusion

The sustained underrepresentation of Latinas in engineering threatens economic vitality, innovation, and technology' advancement in the United States (Carnevale et al., 2011). Furthermore, it sustains a deficit-based system that continues to maintain inequities based upon meritocratic perspectives. Alternatively, validating advising practices promote an interaction that elicits the unique strengths and assets that Latinas possess. These assets serve as capital that can be activated to succeed within the hostile climate of engineering. Through their resilience, the students described a form of resistant capital. This study, therefore, supports the interplay of CCW and resiliency while adding another form of capital to the dynamic set of assets previously identified. Furthermore, students’ goals and aspirations can be elicited through validating advising practices to create a more supportive climate in engineering, with the goal of increasing the number of STEM graduates.

Note

1. I use the term “minoritized” instead of “minority” to acknowledge that individuals are not born into minority status, but “instead, they are rendered minorities in particular situations and institutional environments that sustain an overrepresentation of whiteness” (Patton, Harper, & Harris, 2015, p. 212).

 
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