Much of the conversation on equity and inclusion centers on the need to “increase” something—the marginalized student population, mentoring programs, engagement opportunities, “knowledge” of topics like white privilege. However, few conversations focus on a much harder truth—that the culture of whiteness and maleness in engineering limits sustained improvement in equity and inclusion efforts of most institutions. Using preliminary findings from their current NSF-funded project called “I-MATTER,” Drs. Masta and Pawley examine how engineering culture has normalized racism and sexism for underrepresented students in engineering contexts. Through their discussion, they will highlight the strong need for more BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) researchers in white spaces, and encourage white researchers to “stay in their lanes” when approaching equity and inclusion research.
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