Identity Construction in Model Rocketry: How Newcomers Learn and Construct Identity in AIAA’s Rocket League

  • Daniel Robert Dyson University of Central Florida


Students making the transition from college to the workplace usually find it difficult to fit in with their colleagues; there are underlying social norms and aspects that a newcomer may conflict with when entering a new community. However, joining an academic club while in school may help students learn how to enter a community by constructing a well-aligned identity. An ethnographic study of one particular club was conducted. Multiple textual analyses, analyses of field notes, and analyses of interviews were conducted to examine how a newcomer might construct their identity within a particular academic club. The analysis shows that identity construction occurs as a result of participation, communication, and collaboration within an assigned group project. Furthermore, the analyses show that academic clubs could potentially prepare students to enter new communities, including workplaces, thereby reducing time and energy spent adapting to new or conflicting ways of practice and increasing opportunities for the newcomer to succeed within the community.

Author Biography

Daniel Robert Dyson, University of Central Florida

Daniel Dyson is majoring in Aerospace Engineering and will soon be a junior at the University of Central Florida (UCF). He is passionate and eager about entering the engineering profession; he has joined group projects through the clubs at UCF and he plans to spend time helping in a research group on campus.

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