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Engineering Students’ Concepts of Humanitarian Engineering and Their Identity Development as Humanitarian Engineers

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School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs, College of Engineering, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
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Workforce Education and Development, College of Education, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
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School of Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Firoz Alam
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 8845; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13168845
Received: 12 July 2021 / Revised: 29 July 2021 / Accepted: 4 August 2021 / Published: 7 August 2021
Humanitarian Engineering extends engineering practice to provide a focus on addressing social inequities and contributing to sustainable development for all. This study investigated undergraduate engineering students’ concepts of Humanitarian Engineering and motives to be Humanitarian Engineers as they acquire knowledge and skills and build a professional identity as engineers who can work in complex socio-technical sustainability contexts. Qualitative data were collected from an open-ended survey of 46 engineering students followed by semi-structured interviews with ten students at a U.S. university. Survey data provided individual characteristics that conceptualized and guided interviews to explore key relationships among participants’ concepts of Humanitarian Engineering and motivations. A central idea of a “Humanitarian Engineer” identity emerged, influenced by various motivations. Students envisioning themselves as Humanitarian Engineers were associated with socio-cultural background, motivation to practice engineering skills, and desire to travel. A value-related motivation, the desire to help others, appeared as a strong catalyst for developing students’ professional identities and empowering a possible future self as Humanitarian Engineers. To support sustainability education in engineering demands, initial motivation factors associated with student Humanitarian Engineer identity development are researched to support potential future practice and career development. View Full-Text
Keywords: humanitarian engineering; professional identity; sustainable development humanitarian engineering; professional identity; sustainable development
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MDPI and ACS Style

Park, J.J.; Park, M.; Smith, J. Engineering Students’ Concepts of Humanitarian Engineering and Their Identity Development as Humanitarian Engineers. Sustainability 2021, 13, 8845. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13168845

AMA Style

Park JJ, Park M, Smith J. Engineering Students’ Concepts of Humanitarian Engineering and Their Identity Development as Humanitarian Engineers. Sustainability. 2021; 13(16):8845. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13168845

Chicago/Turabian Style

Park, John J., Mihee Park, and Jeremy Smith. 2021. "Engineering Students’ Concepts of Humanitarian Engineering and Their Identity Development as Humanitarian Engineers" Sustainability 13, no. 16: 8845. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13168845

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