Are you interested in gaining a head start on your academic career? Do you have future goals to become a faculty, researcher, college administrator, or work in STEM education/educational policy? Are you interested in work that challenges the ways cultivating inclusion and broadening participation in engineering have traditionally been explored? Dr. Brooke Coley, an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Arizona State University, is seeking to hire a postdoctoral researcher to join a thriving, collaborative team of engineering education researchers in advancing the Shifting Perceptions, Attitudes & Cultures in Engineering (SPACE) Lab’s current research portfolio. The hired postdoc will be granted autonomy to develop and investigate new ideas. However, the priority will be focused on execution and dissemination associated with two, currently funded National Science Foundation research studies.

Current NSF Funded Research

(1) The Untapped Community: Community colleges as an opportunity to broaden participation in engineering
Although community colleges have received much attention in recent years, little is known about the experiences of students pursuing engineering at the community college as they navigate their studies or the influences on the subsequent steps in their academic/career trajectories (e.g., transferring to a 4- year engineering program or entering the workforce). As this time period critically influences students’ chosen pathways to engineering careers, this study seeks to understand the lived and told experiences of community college engineering students, specifically focusing on those from underrepresented groups (URGs)—women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+, first-generation, veterans and low socioeconomic status. With more students, and those from underrepresented groups in particular, initiating their undergraduate studies at community colleges, this work has the potential to shed insight into the influential forces in the decision making that impacts academic and career trajectories. This work will adopt a narrative approach to learn from the voices of community college students yielding information that multiple stakeholders can utilize in enhancing the experiences of those pursuing engineering at the community college.

(2) Learning from the PROSE: Exploring professional organizations’ role in supporting Black engineering student success
The aim of this study is to understand how students’ engagement with identity-related organizations— such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and those that makeup the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)—contributes to the successful completion of engineering programs. More specifically, this project will investigate the mechanisms by which professional organizations provide critical professional and psychosocial support that contribute to the development and success of Black engineering students using a three-phase approach: performing a systematic literature review, conducting phenomenological interviews, and exploring novel means of dissemination—for this study integrating film as both method and mode. This project focuses on the experiences of those who have successfully completed undergraduate education and self-selected to further pursue engineering at the graduate level, namely Black graduate engineering students. The explicit focus on Black engineering graduate students who have graduated from a range of institutions allows us to deeply explore similar dynamics in different contexts. By extension, this will allow us to develop a robust set of strategies for supporting minority students at all levels of education, reinforce the efforts of professional organizations that align with various dimensions of their identity, and shed light on pathways to the professoriate.

About the Position:

This NSF-funded postdoctoral researcher will work directly under Dr. Coley’s supervision with the expectation of being self-driven and capable of thriving independently. As part of the postdoctoral experience, applicants will receive customized career development (not limited to academia) and mentoring support to best position them for their individualized professional goals beyond the postdoc. The candidate will also be expected to collaborate with affiliated faculty and research team members to advance project goals with a strong emphasis on developing mentorship skills through interaction with current graduate research assistants. Funding is available for one year and will be renewable dependent upon a successful annual performance review.

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • The candidate must value and prioritize inclusion
  • Have experience with and/or desire to work with diverse teams
  • Have a Ph.D. in one of the following disciplines: engineering education, higher education or a related field in social science disciplines (e.g., sociology, psychology, economics, etc.)
  • Strong experience leading development of peer-reviewed manuscripts
  • Experience conducting high quality qualitative or mixed-methods research (including use of software such as NVivo or Dedoose)
  • Experience executing qualitative analyses with data sets from engineering education, education, psychology, sociology, anthropology or similar research areas
  • Possess expertise in STEM issues in higher education
  • Have aligned or synergistic interests research topics such as cultivating inclusive cultures, lived experiences of marginalized people, hidden identities in STEM environments, community college STEM students, counterspaces and/or the role of engaging in professional organizations on student success, and non-traditional modes of dissemination
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Enthusiasm for collaborative work
  • Desire to hone grant writing skills
  • Ability to travel for data collection procedures as well as domestic and international conference presentations
  • Ability to mentor graduate research assistant(s)

If you are interested in this position, please submit a single PDF file containing the items listed below to Dr. Brooke Coley,

  1. Cover letter (In your letter please thoroughly describe your interest in the two NSF listed projects and how you see this experience preparing you for your future aspirations. Please also discuss your thoughts on the state of inclusion in STEM and visions you may have for transforming this.)
  2. CV
  3. At least two Journal/conference paper writing samples (from within the last two years)
  4. Names and email addresses of three professional references

It is desired for the postdoctoral position to begin Spring 2020. Review of applications will begin December 16, 2019 and continue until the position is filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Please reach out to Dr. Coley with any questions you may have.