Theses and Dissertations


Carla Grimes

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Mohammadi-Aragh, Mahnas J.

Committee Member

Lee, Sarah B.

Committee Member

Simpson, Chartrisa Lashan

Committee Member

Sullivan, Rani

Committee Member

Wei, Tianlan Elaine

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Strawderman, Lesley, Keith, Jason M.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 3 years

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Engineering Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Engineering


The purpose of this dissertation is to explore how stereotype threat impacts women and minorities within the College of Engineering. Within this study, I present a mixed-methods study that begins with an exploratory qualitative study into an sequential explanatory study. The purpose of the first study, Manuscript 1, was to identify common barriers present to women in engineering that negatively impact their motivations within engineering. During the analysis of this data, stereotype threat emerged as a common theme which lead to a literature review and subsequent explanatory study. A quantitative study, using Picho and Brown’s Social Identities and Attitudes Scale, was conducted to help pin point which groups on campus (i.e. women, men, and racial groups plus their intersections) were most impacted by stereotype threat (Manuscript 2, Chapter IV). The instrument also divides stereotype threat amongst six different constructs which allowed insight into specifically which types of stereotypes persist within engineering. Using the data collected from the 137 participants, I was able to identify that women are the most at risk for stereotype threat across 4 of the constructs in the instrument. Using the information from the SIAS instrument, I developed a focus group protocol and conducted 4 different focus groups with 8 different participants to gather data on what ways these negative stereotypes persist and interfere with women’s motivations within engineering (Manuscript 3, Chapter V). The implications of this research is then utilized to formulate proposed solutions to increase diversity and inclusivity within engineering.



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant Number DGE-1125191. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


engineering||diversity||stereotype threat||inclusivity