The Flemming CEED Center faculty members and faculty members from Penn State University recently received funding from the Penn State Social Science Research Institute’s (SSRI) ‘Reducing Social Disparities’ initiative. The research team was awarded a grant for the project titled ‘An Investigation of Factors Affecting Underrepresented Groups’ Participation in Student Innovation Competitions, Exhibitions, and Training Programs.’ This two-year grant, which became effective in May 2021, seeks to uncover underlying factors affecting low participation rates among underrepresented groups in these programs, including historically marginalized groups, females, and students with disabilities.
The project team is studying how students decide to participate in innovation competitions and training programs. The team is also investigating barriers that prevent underrepresented students from participating in these programs to help them the programs to become more inclusive and diverse. The proposed research objectives will be achieved through semi-structured interviews and qualitative data analysis by theoretical and inductive thematic text analyses.
The interdisciplinary project is a collaborative initiative of five faculty members from two Penn State campuses. The principal investigator is Dr. Sadan Kulturel-Konak, professor of management information systems, director of the Flemming CEED Center, and program chair of the entrepreneurship and innovation minor, Penn State Berks. Co-principal investigators include Dr. Abdullah Konak, distinguished professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State Berks; Dr. Alexandra List, associate professor of education, Penn State University Park; Dr. P. Karen Murphy, department head, distinguished professor of education, Harry and Marion Eberly faculty fellow, Penn State University Park; and Dr. Nicole Webster, associate professor of youth and international development and African studies, director of the Youth Civic Lab, Penn State University Park.
Kulturel-Konak explains, “The results of this preliminary investigation will provide us a theoretical grounding for a follow-up external grant proposal.”