The Career Experiences of African American Female Engineers



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Women of color, specifically African American women, within science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are significantly underrepresented in workplace organizations. However, the majority of the research addressing STEM issues is centered on increasing the pipeline, recruitment, and retention of underrepresented groups in the K-12 and collegiate domain. There is little, if any, literature focused on the career development of African American female engineers holistically. This is a critical missing link in the research which would support efforts to increase diversity in STEM. The purpose of this study was to provide this missing link by examining the career experiences of African American female engineers and exploring their challenges and support systems during their career development. This qualitative study was guided by the basic interpretive inquiry utilizing a life history approach. There were nine African American female participants in the study who currently work in an engineering field within an engineering industry. Data were obtained using in-depth interviewing where the participants were digitally recorded and the files were transcribed verbatim. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis.