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Research Projects

Project 1: Women in Engineering

With collaborators Dr. Jennifer DeBoer (Purdue University), Dr. Nehal Abu-Lail (WSU), and Dr. Ashley Ater Kranov (WSU), I am conducting research in three countries (Jordan, Malaysia, and Tunisia) to assess the contextual factors that encourage women’s participation in engineering in tertiary education and as a career.  In these countries, women’s participation in engineering is much higher than in the US.  We seek to understand the links between cultural context and expanding women’s STEM participation by studying the economic, educational, socio-cultural, legal, and political drivers of women’s participation in these contexts.

We apply case study methods to collect  data from focus groups and in-depth interviews in each country with female engineering undergraduate students, faculty members, and practicing engineers. The research is significant because it promises to document factors that encourage women’s successful participation in STEM in social, political, and cultural contexts that are very different from the US. With its cross-national, in-depth exploration of women’s curricular and career choices and its attention to mechanisms producing gender-differentiated curricular and career decisions, this project promises to shed light more generally on how context shapes women’s successful participation in STEM in ways that inform our efforts to broaden participation in the US.

Project 2: Gender & the Environment

With Dr. Emily Huddart Kennedy, I am exploring the ways environmentalism may reproduce gender inequality in the home and at work. In particular we consider how an emphasis on household-level pro-environmental behavior, behaviors that are typically in women’s domain (green cleaning, homemade cooking, gardening, etc.), may negatively impact women’s attachment to the labor market.  We are also considering how parent’s–especially mother’s–green and healthy consumption choices shape how people judge their character and parenting quality.

Project 3: Dual Career Academics

With a team of WSU researchers (including past and current students Sarah Morton and Dr. Hong Zhang), I  surveyed tenure and non-tenure track faculty at seven institutions of higher education in the U.S. to identify their experiences as dual-career academic couples. Read the blog post about our recent work.

Project 4: Work & Family

With Dr. Lindsey Trimble-O’Connor, I am using survey-experimental data to understand how cultural schemas related to work and gender (e.g., ideal worker norms, gender norms, the one-way honor system) shape people’s response to workplace discrimination. In particular, whether adherence to these cultural schemas are connected to whether and how a person labels an illegal act of workplace family responsibility discrimination.

I am also collaborating with Dr. Leah Sheppard and two graduate students to explore reasons for women’s absence in upper management. Previous research suggests women might adopt more active management styles, relative to men, both at work and in terms of managing household tasks, which could have negative implications for their well-being and elite leadership aspirations. We are studying women’s workplace and household management styles, with a focus on whether daily management styles in one domain are related to daily management styles in the other, whether this is moderated by participant gender, and how this relates to various outcomes. We are using experience sampling methodology to collect daily reports of women’s and men’s workplace/household management behaviors, emotional exhaustion, life/job satisfaction, and perceived domain performance.