Racial Microaggressions, STEM identity, and impostor feelings: An analysis of Black engineering and computing doctoral students
Thursday, September 20, 2018 — 4:15PM - 5:15PM
In this paper, we analyzed how racial microagressions made students feel as though their STEM identity was challenged, exacerbating feelings of impostorism. Following Sue et al.’s framework (2007) we specifically analyzed environmental, verbal, and behavioral microagressions, with a particular focus on Black students’ interactions with other peers in their program. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 30 Black PhD students regarding their doctoral experiences. Across the interviews, participants expressed various forms of racial microaggressions that greatly challenged their sense of belonging and identities as scientists through the process of identity non-verification, leading them to feel as though they were impostors in these spaces. This research affirms the need to instate initiatives at the institutional or departmental level to make engineering and computing programs more inclusive spaces for diverse students and to combat the types of exclusionary practices seen in this research.