An Engineering Student's Autoethnography: Preparing Engineering Students to Work on Taboo Topics in the Service of Communities
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- Date created
- [ca. June 2015-May 2016]
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Theses written by undergraduates in the Stanford University Graduate School of Education's Honors Program., Theses written by undergraduates in the Stanford University Graduate School of Education's Honors Program.
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Engineers create and implement technologies that provide solutions to some of the most pressing problems in the world today. Engineering education, or the formal training of engineering students, is integral in preparing these engineers to go out into an increasingly globalized world. It has become crucial that engineers are prepared for a wide array of situations outside of a purely technical role. From this, comes a need to bridge the gap between engineering education theory and practice, and study of whether these types of interactions, between engineering students and international communities, are worthwhile and equitable for both parties. This paper uses autoethnography as a method to analyze and distill a framework for preparing engineering students working on what are considered to be “taboo” topics in international development context. Looking at engineering students working on international development projects in sanitation and hygiene stresses the importance of the framework with which one approaches the issue: working with the community, rather than working for them (Hariharan 2011). The metrics of assessment are twofold: first, global preparedness, or “the readiness to engage and effectively operate under uncertainty in different cultural contexts to address engineering problems” and second, global competency, or “development of one’s skills and attitudes in successfully interacting with persons of diverse backgrounds” (Streiner et al., 2014) have recently been brought forward into the discussion. This paper, through the methodology of autoethnography, will use skills derived from these two metrics of global preparedness and global competency to understand how an engineering student, the author of this thesis, worked with an community on a taboo topic.
- Preferred Citation
- Patel, Devika. (2016). An Engineering Student's Autoethnography: Preparing Engineering Students to Work on Taboo Topics in the Service of Communities. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Stanford University, Stanford CA.
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