A friend asked for some pointers towards "engineering identity" materials. Here's what I shared -- this isn't comprehensive, but rather it's material I thought was cool.

From what I've seen, most engineering identity stuff is related to engineering epistemology ("what is engineering, anyway?") and/or underrepresented groups ("how does minority X understand themselves as engineers?".

My favorite "what is engineering, anyway -- and who is an engineer?" instrument is simultaneously adorable and disturbing. It's the Draw-an-engineer test, or the DAET. Basically, you get kids -- or anyone, but it's usually kids -- to draw whatever they think an engineer looks like. Afterwards, you analyze the drawings to see what kinds of assumptions they're making: are all the engineer-drawings of white, apparently abled, conventionally-dressed men wearing safety goggles and standing on a train? (Sometimes they are.)

Then there's the space of "how do engineering identities come to be?" Kerry Meyers has explored this space. Here's a short version of some of her early findings. Among other things, she found that language is a huge deal -- what you call people matters, and it matters from the very beginning. She also describes engineering identity development as a staged developmental process, not a binary "you have no engineering identity... and... BING! Now you magically do!"

Folks have also started to look at how different underrepresented groups (race, gender, class, disability, etc. etc. etc.) construct their engineering identities compared to the dominant group. Here's one brief on the gender perspective, but researchers are looking at indigenous students, young black men, and many more.

To my knowledge, very few engineering programs have explicit curricular discussion of students' engineering identities. Smith and UTEP's E-LEAD program are two exceptions with required first-year courses that provide devoted space to the topic. I'd love to see more of this sort of exploration, since developing a personal engineering identity can help students persist in bridging their engineering knowledge into their lives and out to a world that needs it.