UT College of Education Assistant Professor Receives NSF CAREER Grant

Curriculum and Instruction Assistant Professor Sepehr Vakil received the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant for a five-year project totaling $672,379. His project is titled “CAREER: Investigation of Undergraduate Learning Contexts Considering Ethical, Racial, and Disciplinary Identities of Students in Engineering and Computer Science.”

Vakil is also the Associate Director of Equity and Inclusion in STEM Education at the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. His focus on questions of ethics and political identity in particular will extend prior work on issues of equity and diversity in STEM education. “Beyond content and disciplinary knowledge,” said Vakil, “I explore what students learn about the broader social values and ideologies attached to engineering and computer science. Where and how does this learning occur? And critically, what are the implications for how students come to see themselves, their communities, and their possible futures in relation to these disciplines?”

“Building from these insights,” said Vakil, “the second component of this project will involve working with engineering and computer science faculty and students, as well as diversity groups on campus to co-design an undergraduate summer research opportunity focused on the intersections of ethics, race, and technology. Vakil said that the project will help illuminate “how we how we might reimagine the fundamental purposes and possibilities of learning computer science and engineering disciplines.”

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program awards members of the NSF who exhibit potential in early career research and education.

Photo of Sepehr Vakil
Sepehr Vakil