Five Interweaving Systems Defining the Environment

In our model of computing identity development for Latina students, we propose that all individual-level processes take place within the context of various systems. All computing identity' experiences are shaped by five interweaving systems (shown as rectangles within the model). These interweaving systems are the greater environment in which first pre-college computing identity experiences happen; background and experiences shape these identity' experiences; students enter college with a computing identity or not as many Latina students come to (i.e., decide to major in) computing postcollege enrollment. These interweaving systems, taken from the Ecological Theory of Development (e.g. Bronfenbrenner, 2005; Tudge, Mokrova, Hatfield, & Karnik, 2009), include: individual, microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosy'stem. Within our model, the individual level is where a students innate sense of self lies and identity development takes place. The microsystem is a larger but still closely' bound system made up of computing interactions such as those with faculty', advisors, and peers as well as community-based interactions with family, school, church, and health services. The mesosystem is the space in between the microsystems and the exosystem in which students make sense of multiple influences. For some students, this distinction between the microsystem (college/school) and the mesosystem (family/community/off-campus work) may be more pronounced because students spend more time on campus during college. The exosystem is made up of influences from the larger environments around them such as social services, neighbors, local politics, mass media, and industry. The macrosystem refers to the attitudes and ideologies of the greater culture(s) of which they are a part.

Each of these systems has the ability to influence computing identity' processes at the individual level (as demonstrated with the bidirectional arrows reaching across all of the systems). These systems shape pre-college computing identity' experiences of Latina students as well as college computing identity experiences, including the daily identity negotiations, sensemaking, and revised computing identity' and outcomes. For example, in our emerging research that examines the lived experiences of Latina students in computing (Rodriguez & Ramirez, 2020), we find that often a computing identity for Latina students is influenced by economic needs from various system levels. At the individual-, micro-, or meso-level, Latina students from low socioeconomic backgrounds may seek out these fields and build a sense of computing identity around their ideas that this path will financially benefit themselves as well as their families and communities. The exosystem and macrosystem levels may influence how Latina students may consider gender, racial, ethnic, class, or other identities as they shape their computing identities. In contrast, they may also take into consideration other factors, both positive and negative, such as national trends around diverse hiring in computing or patriarchal attitudes about the abilities of Latina women in computing. For instance, in emerging research (Rodriguez & Ramirez, 2020), we see that the college computing identity experiences of Latina women are influenced by larger intersectional oppressions related to both gender and race stemming from the existing exo- and macrosystems. The environments, attitudes, and ideologies of the greater cultures surrounding Latina students might at times minimalize the capabilities of Latina women on the basis of their race and gender and attempt to marginalize them from computing fields. It is from these various system levels that Latina undergraduate students in computing can both draw upon community cultural wealth and funds of identity as assets and experience issues of intersectional- ity and multiple forms of oppression, as explained in the next two sections.

 
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