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A Review of Psychosocial Factors Associated with Undergraduate Engagement and Retention in STEM

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Conference

2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting

Location

Virtually Hosted by the section

Publication Date

November 12, 2021

Start Date

November 12, 2021

End Date

November 13, 2021

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38422

Download Count

19

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Paper Authors

biography

Ashley Lytle Stevens Institute of Technology

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Ashley Lytle is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. Lytle earned her PhD at Stony Brook University, New York, USA. Her research explores how prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping impact academic, social, and health outcomes among marginalized groups. Much of her research has focused on better understanding prejudice toward older adults, sexual minorities, and women, with the goal of creating simple, yet effective, interventions to reduce prejudice.

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Alexander John De Rosa Stevens Institute of Technology (School of Engineering and Science)

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Alexander De Rosa is a Teaching Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. He gained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 2015 and his M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College London in 2010. Dr. De Rosa is currently working in the areas of deeper learning and knowledge transfer, and has published various articles in the field of spatial skills training and assessment.

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Frank T Fisher Stevens Institute of Technology (School of Engineering and Science) Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4476-5040

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Frank T. Fisher is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, where he served as the Interim Department Director / Department Chair from April 2013 to August 2018. He earned BS degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh, and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Learning Sciences (School of Education and Social Policy) and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern. His research interests include characterization of multifunctional nano-reinforced polymer systems, multiscale modeling of nanocomposites and materials, vibration energy harvesting/scavenging, and engineering pedagogy and instructional technologies. Awards that he has received include the NSF CAREER award, the 2016 Alexander Crombie Humphreys Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor award (Stevens), the 2014 Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award from the Stevens Student Government Association, the 2009 ASEE Mechanics Division Outstanding New Educator Award, and the 2009 Outstanding Teacher Award from the Stevens Alumni Association.

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Abstract

Low retention rates of undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields is a persistent problem in the United States (U.S.), with the U.S. lagging behind many countries in producing a sufficient number of STEM graduates. A better understanding of the barriers that result in students dropping out of STEM fields is essential for increasing engagement and retention of STEM undergraduate students. In this regard, a growing body of research demonstrates that psychosocial factors such as STEM self-efficacy, sense of belonging, intelligence beliefs, and grit are associated with STEM outcomes such as engagement and retention. In this review paper we examine how these key psychosocial variables (STEM self-efficacy, sense of belonging, intelligence beliefs, and grit) impact engagement and retention of undergraduate STEM students. An introduction to each of these factors is given, major work in the field is discussed, and typical instruments used to assess or measure these factors are described. It is hoped that this review may form the foundation of larger studies seeking to understand how nurturing and supporting these psychosocial factors may help support retention of undergraduate STEM students, particularly from those student populations underrepresented in the STEM fields.

Lytle, A., & De Rosa, A. J., & Fisher, F. T. (2021, November), A Review of Psychosocial Factors Associated with Undergraduate Engagement and Retention in STEM Paper presented at 2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting, Virtually Hosted by the section. https://peer.asee.org/38422

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