Purdue University Graduate School
Dina 6.14.20.pdf (5.46 MB)

Enacting Agency: Understanding How First-Generation College Students’ Personal Agency Supports Disciplinary Role Identities and Engineering Agency Beliefs

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posted on 2020-06-16, 23:46 authored by Dina VerdinDina Verdin

This dissertation is a three study format. In this dissertation, I used an explanatory sequential mixed method design. Study 1 develops a measurement scale to capture first-generation college students’ agency using the constructs of intentionality, forethought, self-reactiveness, and self-reflectiveness. Study 2 used structural equation modeling to establish a relationship between personal agency, disciplinary role identities, and students’ desire to enact engineering agency. Study 3 was a narrative analysis of how Kitatoi, a Latina, first-generation college student, authored her identity as an engineer. Data for study 1 and 2 came from a survey administered in the Fall of 2017 of 3,711 first-year engineering students across 32 ABET universities.


CAREER: Actualizing Latent Diversity: Building Innovation through Engineering Students' Identity Development

Directorate for Engineering

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Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Engineering Education

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Allison Godwin

Additional Committee Member 2

Matthew Ohland

Additional Committee Member 3

Alice Pawley

Additional Committee Member 4

Jessica Smith