Faculty Publications

Michelle M. Camacho, Susan M. Lord

Borderlands of Education: Latinas in Engineering

Susan M. Lord

This innovative work critically studies the contemporary problems of one segment of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. The lack of a diverse U.S.-based pool of talent entering the field of engineering education has been termed a crisis by academic and political leaders. Engineering remains one of the most sex segregated academic arenas; the intersection of gendered and racialized exclusion results in very few Latina engineers. Drawing on cutting-edge scholarship in gender and Latino/a Studies, the book provides an analytically incisive view of the experiences of Latina engineers.

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation through a Gender in Science and Engineering grant, the authors bridge interdisciplinary perspectives to illuminate the nuanced and multiple exclusionary forces that shape the culture of engineering. A large, multi-institution, longitudinal dataset permits disaggregation by race and gender. The authors rely on primary and secondary sources and incorporate an integrated mixed-methods approach combining quantitative and qualitative data. Together, this analysis of the voices of Latina engineering majors breaks new ground in the literature on STEM education and provides an exemplar for future research on subpopulations in these fields.

This book is aimed at researchers who study underrepresented groups in engineering and are interested in broadening participation and ameliorating problems of exclusion. It will be attractive to scholars in the fields of multicultural and higher education, sociology and cultural anthropology, as well as cultural studies and feminist technology studies, and all researchers interested in the intersections of STEM, race and gender. This resource will be useful for policy-makers and educational leaders looking to revitalize and re-envision the culture within engineering.


Michelle Madsen Camacho is Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department, University of San Diego. Her Ph.D. is from the University of California, Irvine in the interdisciplinary fields of Sociology and Cultural Anthropology. She is a former Fulbright Fellow and her ethnographic research was funded by numerous external grants. In addition, she formerly held two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California, San Diego, at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies and in the Department of Ethnic Studies. She publishes using both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and engages theories from interdisciplinary sources including cultural studies, critical race, feminist theories.

Susan M. Lord is Professor and Coordinator of Electrical Engineering, University of San Diego. She received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University and the M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. From 1993-1997, Dr. Lord taught at Bucknell University. Author of over eighty publications, her teaching and research interests include engineering student persistence, optoelectronics, service-learning, feminist pedagogy, and lifelong learning.

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