Asee peer logo

Alternate Pathways To Success

Download Paper |


2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Retention: Keeping the Women Students

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.155.1 - 9.155.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Monica Gaughan

author page

Donna Llewellyn

author page

Marion Usselman

Download Paper |

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

Alternate Pathways To Success

Donna Llewellyn1, Marion Usselman2, Monica Gaughan3 1 Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL)/ 2 Center for Education Integrating Science, Math, and Computing (CEISMC)/ 3 School of Public Policy Georgia Institute of Technology


In order for universities to design information technology (IT) programs that accommodate diverse demographic populations, it is important to understand the educational and career achievement strategies used by different groups of IT professionals—white men, minority men, white women, and minority women—and to design educational requirements that accommodate these different strategies or educational pathways. Our NSF-funded Alternate Pathways to Success in Information Technology (APSIT∗) program is seeking to explore the nature of the IT and engineering educational and career pathways used by successful female and minority Georgia Tech alumni. In particular, the specific goals of this project are: • To define alternate indices of IT and engineering success that reflect a broader interpretation of societal value than indicated by yearly income and job prestige. • To determine the nature of successful IT and engineering educational and career pathways used by women and other under-represented populations. • To compare the educational and career pathways exhibited by IT and different fields of engineering to determine the causes of differential attractiveness of fields to different population subgroups.

Human Capital and Occupational Choice

In the literature on occupational choice and human capital the predominant assumption is that individuals choose to make investments in their education on the basis of the expected earnings and prestige of the employment accessible due to that training. Individuals are likely to choose among the pool of accessible occupations the ones that are most likely to maximize the return on investment in their human capital1,2. Occupational attainment has been extensively investigated as a function of individual stratification variables, family background, ‘human capital’ (measured in terms of experience, training, knowledge etc.), costs to undertake education, and expected rewards3,4. For example, Boskin (1974)5 confirms three hypotheses: that workers choose occupations that (1) maximize the discounted present value of potential lifetime earnings, (2)

∗ National Science Foundation (NSF) Award no. 0204316.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Gaughan, M., & Llewellyn, D., & Usselman, M. (2004, June), Alternate Pathways To Success Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13954

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015