“We Don’t Leave Engineering on the Page”: Civic Engagement Experiences of Engineering Graduate Students

Richard J. Reddick, Laura E. Struve, Jeffrey R. Mayo, Ryan A. Miller, Jennifer L. Wang


Few scholars have examined the civic engagement experiences of graduate students in engineering fields. To address this void, this study uses social exchange theory and experiential learning theory to consider the experiences of engineering graduate students in service programs at a predominantly White research university. The findings suggest that students are highly motivated to serve and derive complex meaning-making from their service, thus advancing understandings of how engineering graduate students find meaning in civic engagement. Although engineering graduate students may be expected to focus primarily on research and professional advancement, our findings suggest there is an opportunity to more fully involve students in civic engagement activities.


graduate students; engineering; civic engagement; community service

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