ADHD in engineering: Improving education for neurodiverse college STEM students
A new study funded by the National Science Foundation aims to improve teaching practices in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for college students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The researchers expect that it will ultimately improve education for many neurodivergent students—not just those with ADHD— and make the entire STEM field more inclusive.
“The study of students who have ADHD or other neurodiversity such as autism, dyslexia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder is missing from the field of higher education, so this is a really understudied population,” said project leader Cindy Finelli, director of the graduate program in Engineering Education Research (EER) and a professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Education at the University of Michigan.
Finelli is working on the project with Laura Carroll, a graduate student and alumnus who received a Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from U-M and is currently a doctoral candidate in Engineering Education Research.
There is a growing place in the tech industry for these students. Companies such as Dell Technologies, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Ford, and Microsoft have been expanding their hiring of individuals with neurodiversities such as ADHD. And the result is a competitive advantage through “productivity gains, quality improvement, boosts in innovative capabilities, and broad increases in employee engagement.”
We talked to Finelli and Carroll to learn more about the project.