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Radio Shop Chat / Should I Stay or Should I Go? Black Engineering Students Deciding to Stay or Leave Engineering Majors

February 7 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Dr. Tanya Ennis' headshot, where she stands outside with the mountains of Boulder, Colorado in the background.

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Black Engineering Students Deciding to Stay or
Leave Engineering Majors

Featuring Dr. Tanya Ennis
Broadening Participation Director
SpectrumX Center and Research Support Office (RSO)
University of Colorado Boulder, College of Engineering and Applied Science

Dr. Ennis’ presentation will highlight the findings of her dissertation which include multiple
configurations of factors working together that inform Black engineering students in making a decision
to stay or leave engineering majors. Her theoretical framework draws upon research on the continual
reinforcement of the racialized environment on university campuses, academic social supports,
resilience responses and feedback loops. Dr. Ennis’ dissertation topic grew out of her desire to center
and understand Black students’ experiences in engineering, revealing the complexities of why Black
students choose to stay or leave. She will outline the results of her findings and reveal the multiple
factors working together that contribute to Black engineering students deciding to stay or leave.

Dr. Tanya Davis Ennis is the Broadening Participation Director for the SpectrumX Center and for the
Research Support Office (RSO) at the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Engineering and
Applied Science. She received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Southern University in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana and her M.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Southern California in Los
Angeles, California. She also recently earned her PhD in Education in Learning Sciences and Human
Development from the University of Colorado Boulder where the School of Education faculty committee
awarded her the Outstanding Dissertation Award for her dissertation entitled Yearning to Learn: A
Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Black Engineering Students Deciding to Stay or Leave Engineering

As a low-socioeconomic, first-generation college student who grew up in rural Louisiana, Dr. Ennis
encountered multiple factors that impacted her decision to study engineering, to graduate and to
pursue a career in telecommunications with AT&T Bell Laboratories, US WEST Communications and
COVAD Communications where she developed and implemented large-scale systems. After a career in
the telecommunications industry, Dr. Ennis transitioned into teaching high school mathematics, with an
emphasis on educating students of color who struggled with learning mathematics. She later began her
career at CU Boulder where she directed the Engineering GoldShirt Program and the BOLD Center,
where she directed programs designed to support and engage underrepresented students to succeed as
engineering students. Dr. Ennis also taught introductory physics and engineering project design;
additionally, she created new curriculum to serve students needing additional academic instruction,
especially for the calculus sequence. A number of ASEE conference papers on the Engineering GoldShirt
Program and other topics are published by Dr. Ennis.

This event will take place February 7, 2023, at 3 p.m. EST/ 2 p.m. CST/ 1 p.m. MST/ and noon PST.

Register here.


February 7
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


View Organizer Website