Understanding Place and Rurality in Engineering Education through Pathways and Engagement

dc.contributor.authorSchilling, Malle Reaen
dc.contributor.committeechairGrohs, Jacob Richarden
dc.contributor.committeememberAzano, Amy Priceen
dc.contributor.committeememberKnight, David B.en
dc.contributor.committeememberParetti, Marie C.en
dc.contributor.departmentEngineering Educationen
dc.description.abstractgeneralOver the few last decades, there has been a push to prepare more students for STEM careers to meet demands for a larger workforce and to broaden participation. Scholars, activists, and educators have identified that, despite these efforts to broaden participation in engineering, many groups remain underrepresented and marginalized in education. However, engineering education has given little attention to the impacts of place, or geography, on educational access particularly as it relates to academic preparation resources, educational pathways, and careers in engineering. My multi-method dissertation seeks to address this gap in the literature across three manuscripts. In the first manuscript, I examine possible influences on enrollment in postsecondary pathways for engineering, computer science, and engineering technology careers in Virginia. Using descriptive analysis and multilevel modeling techniques, I identified disproportionate enrollments in community college and four-year pathways across geographies, and identified possible individual-level and community-level characteristics that help shed light on the enrollment trends. In the second manuscript, I explore the pathways taken by rural STEM professionals from Southwest Virginia who continue to live and work in the region. By understanding their pathways, I identified various supports and barriers they faced as rural students and professionals, and the factors that influenced them to stay in the region. Finally, I present a conceptual model meant to provide a literature- and research-informed approach to how engineering education might consider doing work (i.e. outreach, engagement, applied research) in rural settings in a way that acknowledges place and context. Across these manuscripts, I aim to shed light on the intersection of rurality and STEM education. By focusing on concepts of place and geographical influences on education, I hope to provide a new lens for how inequities in STEM education might be further addressed while providing practical insights for structural and systemic changes related to engineering education efforts. Ultimately, through focusing on rurality, I hope to contribute to changing the narrative around what it means to be rural or to be from a rural place.en
dc.description.degreeDoctor of Philosophyen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.subjectengineering educationen
dc.subjectcareer pathwaysen
dc.titleUnderstanding Place and Rurality in Engineering Education through Pathways and Engagementen
thesis.degree.disciplineEngineering Educationen
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophyen


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