Critically Examining the Role of Habitus for Minoritized Students in a Global Engineering Program




study abroad, diversity, low-income, minoritized student


In study abroad programs, overall student participation and the representation of minoritized students continue to rise, but barriers to participation for minoritized students persist, especially in engineering. As we strive to broaden participation in engineering study abroad programs, we must critically examine the experiences of minoritized students who engage in these programs so we can facilitate supportive educational environments. This study examines the experiences of minoritized students in a global engineering study abroad program, using the concept of habitus, a student’s collection of identities and embodied cultural capital. We find that students draw on various forms of habitus while studying abroad, connecting their new experiences abroad to their prior experiences. Based on these findings, we make recommendations for designing more equitable and inclusive study abroad programming elements.


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Author Biographies

Jessica Deters, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Jessica Deters is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical and Materials Engineering at University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Jessica holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics & Statistics and a minor in the McBride Honors Program in Public Affairs from the Colorado School of Mines. Her areas of research include engineering culture, workplace preparedness, international experiential learning programs, interdisciplinary programs, and comparative engineering education.

Teirra K. Holloman, Virginia Tech

Teirra K. Holloman is a doctoral candidate in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she serves as a graduate research and teaching assistant. Teirra received her M.Eng. in Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech with a focus in Management Systems and her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University. Her research interests include organizational resilience; organizational change; diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in engineering and global education programs.

Dr. Dustin Grote, Weber State University

Dustin Grote currently serves as Assistant Professor in Teacher Education at Weber State University and leads the higher education leadership program. He holds a PhD from Virginia Tech in Higher Education Research and Policy. His research seeks to make access to higher education more equitable for minoritized and low-income students through focused improvements to community college pathways, postsecondary policy, organizations and systems, and assessment and evaluation of higher education institutions.

Dr. Ashley R. Taylor, Rice University

Ashley R. Taylor is Director of Education at the Rice360 Institute for Global Health Technologies and a Lecturer in the Department of Global Health Technologies at Rice University. Through strengthening global collaborations, Ashley’s research and practice are committed to working toward equity in global education and health systems, focused particularly on issues of access, diversity, and inclusion for marginalized groups in engineering education. She holds a Ph.D. in engineering education, MPH in public health education, and M.S. in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech.

Dr. David Knight, Virginia Tech

David Knight is an Associate Professor in Engineering Education, Special Assistant to the Dean for Strategic Plan Implementation, and Director of Research of the Academy for Global Engineering at Virginia Tech. His research tends to be at the macro-scale, focused on a systems-level perspective of how engineering education can become more effective, efficient, and inclusive and considers the intersection between policy and organizational contexts.


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How to Cite

Deters, J., Holloman, T. K., Grote, D., Taylor, A. R., & Knight, D. (2022). Critically Examining the Role of Habitus for Minoritized Students in a Global Engineering Program. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 34(4), 172–205.



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