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“I Know I Have to Work Twice as Hard and Hope That Makes Me Good Enough”

Exploringthe Stress and Strain of Black Doctoral Students in Engineering and Computing

by Ebony O. McGee, Derek M. Griffith & Stacey L. Houston II - 2019

It is well documented that Black doctoral students in engineering and computing fields experience morestress and strain during doctoral training than their White and Asian peers. However, few studies have examined how Blackengineering and computing doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers experience these challenges and stressors or focused onthe psychological effects, behavioral responses, or health costs for these students.We interviewed 48 Black PhD students and postdoctoral researchers in engineering and computing departments to find out how theydescribe, make sense of, and cope with stressors and strains in their training programs. Study participants (29 men and 19 women)ranged from first-year doctoral students to recent PhDs. Students attended various institutions and institution types, primarily ineastern and central time zones. Nine participants attended historically Black colleges and universities, and though we anticipatedthat their experiences would be vastly different , their experiences closely resembled those of stude


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