Spencer, B., Rorrer, A., Davis, S., Moghadam, S. H., & Grainger, C. (2021, May). The Role of ‘Intersectional Capital’in Undergraduate Women’s Engagement in Research-Focused Computing Workshops. In 2021 Conference on Research in Equitable and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology (RESPECT) (pp. 1-6). IEEE.

This paper examines how undergraduate women are supported in computing across their multiple and interlocking social identities of gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Through a mixed-methods study of women’s participation in Google-sponsored computing research workshops at 29 U.S. universities, contextualized by both science capital theory and intersectionality theory, we developed a novel theoretical framework of Intersectional Capital. Overall, survey and interview data show the workshops helped women foster a sense of belonging and professional identity responsive to their intersectional identities, encouraging their pursuit of and persistence in computing research because they were able to build Intersectional Capital. Intersectional Capital provides a lens through which to analyze and design equity-focused interventions in computing education and other disciplines through a constellation of components that help students develop confidence, gain skills, and participate in a larger community where they are supported in developing and presenting their entire selves as computer scientists. Themes observed from the study inform recommendations for cultivating Intersectional Capital.

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