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Being a deaf woman in college is hard, being Black just adds: the complexities of intersecting the margins

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The majority of Black D/deaf female students who enter college do not obtain college degrees; as many of them drop out of college citing irreconcilable differences with faculty, staff and

The majority of Black D/deaf female students who enter college do not obtain college degrees; as many of them drop out of college citing irreconcilable differences with faculty, staff and peers (Barnartt, 2006; Williamson, 2007). Although, many of these inequities are being addressed in current scholarship, traditionally social scientists have analyzed issues of race, gender, class, sexuality or disability by isolating each factor and treating them as if they are independent of each other (Thornton Dill & Zambrana, 2009). This qualitative dissertation study investigates the everyday lives of Black D/deaf female students on a college campus. The study is based on data gathered during four focus group interviews with twenty-two total participants and fifteen individual semi-structured interviews. Interviews were videotaped and conducted in either spoken English or sign language depending on the preference of the participant. Interviews conducted in sign language were then interpreted to spoken English by the researcher, and subsequently transcribed. The study sought to explore identity and individual agency, microaggressions and marginality on campus, and self-determination. Analysis focused critically on the women's understanding of their intersecting identities, their perception of their college experience and their persistence in college. The data revealed a seemingly "invisible" space that women occupied either because of their deafness, race, gender or social class status. Even though the women felt that that they were able to "successfully" navigate space for themselves on their college campus, many experienced more difficulty than their peers who were White, male or hearing. The women developed strategies to negotiate being part of both the deaf and hearing worlds while on their college campus. However, they frequently felt excluded from the Black hearing culture or the White deaf culture.

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  • 2012

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Forging paths through hostile territory: intersections of women's identities pursuing post-secondary computing education

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This study explores experiences of women as they pursue post-secondary computing education in various contexts. Using in-depth interviews, the current study employs qualitative methods and draws from an intersectional approach

This study explores experiences of women as they pursue post-secondary computing education in various contexts. Using in-depth interviews, the current study employs qualitative methods and draws from an intersectional approach to focus on how the various barriers emerge for women in different types of computing cultures. In-depth interviews with ten participants were conducted over the course of eight months. Analytical frameworks drawn from the digital divide and explorations of the role of hidden curricula in higher education contexts were used to analyze computing experiences in earlier k-12, informal, workplace, and post-secondary educational contexts to understand how barriers to computing emerge for women. Findings suggest several key themes. First, early experiences in formal education contexts are alienating women who develop an interest in computing. Opportunities for self-guided exploration, play, and tinkering help sustain interest in computing for women of color to engage in computing at the post-secondary level. Second, post-secondary computing climates remain hostile places for women, and in particular, for women of color. Thirdly, women employ a combination of different strategies to navigate these post-secondary computing cultures. Some women internalized existing dominant cultures of computing programs. Others chose exclusively online programs in computing to avoid negative interactions based on assumptions about their identity categories. Some women chose to forge their own pathways through computing to help diversify the culture via teaching, creating their own businesses, and through social programs.

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Date Created
  • 2012