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Dissertation Defended, Dr. Mary Jane Vickers

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Mary Jane Vickers! Dr. Vickers successfully defended her dissertation on June 20th, 2023. Her dissertation is titled Stemming from Stereotypes: Navigating Competing Expectations among Female Asian-American Engineering Students.

The aim of Dr. Vickers’ dissertation is to examine the unique intersectional experience of these students via thorough, individual interviews regarding encounters with and perceptions of  microaggressions, harassment, and isolation. Methods include data-gathering from school resources such as university student body databases and demographic data, and in-depth, semi-structured student interviews.

Dr. Vickers finds that while Asian-American students overall had positive evaluations of their majors, many still encountered stereotypes such as the model minority myth. Asian-American men had seemingly internalized this stereotype and felt pressure to live up to its high expectations. Asian-American women reported feeling the need to prove themselves to male peers despite having a supposedly “beneficial” Asian identity, and described being ignored and disregarded by men. This study offers a better understanding of the racial and gendered experiences of these students so that efforts such as mentoring programs, fellowships, and diversity training can be created to lessen such inequalities and prevent the loss of students in these programs. This study seeks to not only reveal important information regarding the degree and frequency to which female Asian engineering students may experience race and gender-based discrimination, but also the nature of those experiences.

Dr. Vickers was mentored by Dr. Joseph Jewell and Dr. Nancy Plankey-Videla. Committee members included Dr. Kazuko Suzuki, Dr. Jane Sell, and Dr. Melanie Hawthorne (Global Languages and Cultures).

Congratulations, Dr. Vickers!