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An Examination Of The Use Of Social Cognitive Career Theory To Explore Factors Influencing The Post Baccalaureate Decisions Of High Achieving Engineering Students

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Collection

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

STEM Pipeline: Pre-College to Post-Baccalaureate

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

13.178.1 - 13.178.10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4067

Download Count

59

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Paper Authors

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Venetia Dover Howard University

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VENETIA A. DOVER is a 5th year Ph.D. student at the Howard University School of Social Work and teaches a course in their research sequence. She also serves as a Research Associate on a National Science Foundation grant designed to examine the post baccalaureate decisions of High Achieving Black STEM students. Her research interests include educational issues impacting college age African Americans, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Social Work Education and depression among Afro-Caribbean women.

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Lorraine Fleming Howard University

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LORRAINE FLEMING is professor and former Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at Howard University. Dr. Fleming serves as the Co-PI of a National Science Foundation HBCU Undergraduate Program grant designed to increase the number of underrepresented minorities who pursue degrees in engineering, mathematics, and science. Additionally, she is a Co-PI for the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education. She serves as the Principal Investigator of an NSF grant designed to study the post baccalaureate decisions of high achieving Black STEM students. She is also a 2005 Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Most recently, Dr. Fleming is the recipient of the 2008 National Society of Black Engineers Educator of the Year Award.

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Dawn Williams Howard University

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Viara Quinones Howard University

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Viara Quiñones is a Counseling Psychology doctoral student at Howard University. She serves as a graduate research assistant for the National Science Foundation funded grant High Achieving Black STEM Students (HABSS) longitudinal study. Her research explores psychological and sociocultural factors affecting international STEM students’ undergraduate process.

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

An Examination of the Use of Social Cognitive Career Theory to Explore Factors Influencing the Post Baccalaureate Decisions of High Achieving Black Engineering Students

Abstract

The literature indicates that the representation of minority science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals is significantly disproportionate to minority representation in the U.S. general population and workforce, thereby impacting the current pool of primarily White male STEM professionals’ ability to meet the rapidly changing demands facing the engineering industry. The need to increase the numbers of science and engineering degrees conferred to ethnic minorities at the baccalaureate level and beyond is evident. This paper shares data from the first phase of a multi method longitudinal study conducted at a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in fall 2006 and spring 2007 using a sample of 51 high achieving (GPA > 3.0) Black STEM students. The Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) was used as a theoretical framework to provide insight regarding factors influencing the post baccalaureate decisions of high achieving Black STEM students. Survey findings revealed a statistically significant association between STEM discipline and post baccalaureate plans. Qualitative data from a focus group will shed light on factors influencing the aforementioned finding.

Introduction

The literature indicates that the representation of minority science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals is significantly disproportionate to minority representation in the U.S. general population and workforce, thereby impacting the current pool of primarily White male STEM professionals’ ability to meet the rapidly changing demands facing the engineering industry. Instead, the U.S. must increase the numbers of women and minorities (defined for the purpose of this study as African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans) that earn degrees in STEM fields not just at the baccalaureate level, but at all levels1.

Minorities, particularly African Americans, are showing an increase in enrollment and subsequent degree attainment in science and engineering (S&E)1. Data from 1987 and 2000 show an increase in the percentage of S&E degrees awarded at the baccalaureate level (5.0% to 8.0%), the masters level (2.7% to 4.7%) and the doctoral level (1.6% to 2.8%)2. These numbers can be misleading for two reasons. First, the increase in psychology and social science degree attainment are the bulk of the observed increase in S&E degrees at all levels. Natural sciences, mathematics and engineering show little to no increase. Secondly despite the increase, the actual number of degrees earned is still only a very small percentage of the total U.S. S&E degrees conferred. For example, African Americans in 1996 earned only 674 master’s degrees in engineering as compared to 13,573 earned by Whites. The numbers are similar for the natural sciences and for doctorate degrees awarded3. This disparity is also seen in 2004 data. In 2004, Whites represented 45.9% of science and engineering master’s degrees conferred while underrepresented minorities (i.e. Native Americans, Blacks, and Hispanics) represented 11% of science and engineering master’s degrees conferred4.

2

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: © 2008 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