Using Badging to Promote Makerspace Participation and Engineering Identity Development: Emergent Themes and Lessons Learned from a Pilot

Hannah D. Budinoff, Edward J. Berger, Jannatul Bushra, Ann Shivers-McNair

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Engineering identity development is crucial for engineers' professional performance, personal fulfillment, and organization's success. Various factors including recognition by others, interest, and competence can affect the development of engineering identity. Participation in engineering-related activities, such as involvement in makerspaces, can lead to increases in engineering self-efficacy and can provide opportunities for students' to be recognized as engineers, potentially promoting the development of their engineering identity. However, participation in makerspaces is not necessarily equal across all student groups, with the potential for white, man-dominated cultures of engineering to be replicated in makerspaces, preventing students from marginalized groups from feeling welcome or participating. Earning microcredentials and digital badges in makerspaces has the potential to encourage participation and provide a means for recognition. The goal of this two-year project (funded by NSF's PFE: Research Initiation in Engineering Formation program) is to study engineering students' engineering identity development and how makerspaces and digital badges can contribute to this development process. Towards this goal, we interviewed a diverse cohort of eight first-year engineering students at a large, land-grant, Hispanic-Serving Institution in the U.S. during the Fall 2022 semester. Students participated in two one-hour interviews at the start and end of the semester on topics including their making skills, experiences in the makerspace, participation level in groups, perceived recognition as engineers, and feeling of belongingness in the engineering community and makerspaces. This paper presents lessons-learned from the interview implementation process, including dealing with disruptions from the ongoing pandemic and traumatic campus events. We also present emerging themes from qualitative analysis of the interviews. We expect the implications of this work to guide instructors and administrators in developing more motivating and interactive engineering courses and makerspace experiences for diverse students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 25 2023
Event2023 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - The Harbor of Engineering: Education for 130 Years, ASEE 2023 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2023Jun 28 2023


  • Engineering identity
  • digital badges
  • makerspaces
  • sense of belonging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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