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Adjusting Gender Based Recruiting Strategies To Fit The Appalachian Peer Mentor Model

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Gender and Minority Issues in K-12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.127.1 - 15.127.15



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Paper Authors

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Laura Winn Virginia Military Institute

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Gary Winn West Virginia University

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Robin Hensel West Virginia University

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Reagan Curtis West Virginia University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Adjusting Gender-Based Recruiting Strategies to Fit the Appalachian Peer-Mentor Model


The well-known document often referred to as "The Rising Storm"1 suggested for the first time that even though the U.S. remains the undisputed leader in many research and development areas, the country is not getting young people into the pipeline to engineering and technology- based careers, nor is the country doing a good job keeping existing students in the pipeline. Less well known, ironically, is another important National Academy of Sciences document titled, "Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering"2. This report says in its Executive Summary,

Women scientists and engineers face barriers to success in every field of science and engineering, a record that deprives the country of an important source of talent. Without a transformation of academic institutions to tackle such barriers, the future vitality of the U.S research base and economy is in jeopardy." [In particular, while] women have the ability and drive to succeed in science and engineering, women who are interested in science and engineering careers are lost at every transition.2

As part of a National Science Foundation* funded project, West Virginia University seeks to attract Appalachian-region high school students to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, with particular emphasis on recruiting females and underrepresented minorities in an effort to begin to offset regional STEM numbers that are typically half that of neighboring states. The objective of this study was to better understand how to effectively recruit and retain qualified girls from Appalachian high schools into STEM educational paths. The lessons learned from this study will guide future recruitment and retention practices to enhance the probability that Appalachian women will ultimately enter STEM-related careers as scientists or engineers.

National Gender Differences on Achievement

In the U.S., evidence unequivocally points to the fact that fewer girls than boys show high science achievement, have positive attitudes and values toward science, and later choose science- related careers. Males and females may be differently affected by risk factors during school age and beyond.13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 For example, motivation profile analyses show that females from grade six to junior college are more self-determined, but less externally-regulated and motivated * Acknowledgement and Disclaimer: “This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0525484. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.”

Winn, L., & Winn, G., & Hensel, R., & Curtis, R. (2010, June), Adjusting Gender Based Recruiting Strategies To Fit The Appalachian Peer Mentor Model Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16075

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