June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Women in Engineering
23.206.1 - 23.206.14
[Type text]Are There Gender Differences in how Male and Female Interns and Their Mentors Rate Workforce Skills in STEM Fields? In addition to expertise in a student’s chosen major, it is reasonable for business andindustry to expect a new graduate to bring knowledge/skills sets reflective of a higher educationdegree to the workforce1,2,3. Bok 1,4 notes certain knowledge/skills should be expected of anycollege graduate regardless of major. These include: oral and written communication skills,being able to identify and define problems clearly, understand arguments/reasoning on all sidesof an issue, to identify as many plausible solutions as possible, and exercise good judgment inchoosing the best of alternatives. These are areas reflective of important skills necessary notonly in today’s workforce but in the workforce of tomorrow 1,3,4. These areas are also frequentlycited by companies as weaknesses of new college hires2. There is a need to help ensure studentsare given opportunities to understand the importance of and develop skills in these areas5,6,7. STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields have, experienceddifficulty attracting and retaining students in their majors8,9. While many disciplines attractstudents into their major from other areas, disciplines such as engineering have a very low rate ofmigration from other majors and at the same time lose a high proportion of their enteringstudents to other disciplines8. This has been especially problematic for women in STEM fieldsand especially for women in engineering10. If we are to meet the workforce needs of tomorrow,we need to attract and retain male and female STEM majors. The purpose of the current study was twofold. First, the current study examined mentorsand student interns’ ratings of their preparedness in knowledge/skill sets. How do mentors inindustry rate their student interns’ workforce preparedness, and what are the perceptions ofinterns on their own preparedness in regard to knowledge/skill sets? Next, the study examinedgender differences. Are there significant gender differences in how the knowledge/skill sets arerated by male and female interns and their mentors? Participants in this study were 180 student interns (107 men, 63 women, and 10 notindicated) and their mentors participating in the 2012, 10-week ____ summer internship programin _____. Interns were chosen from around the country based upon their applications andmentoring opportunities to participate in a summer program focusing on a range of specialtyareas. While the primary focus of LARSS is engineering, other areas in science and technologyare also open to select interns. Of those participating in the internship 125 were Caucasian, 14African American, 2 Native American, 11 Asian, 8 Hispanic/Latino, 3 Native Hawaiian/PacificIslander, 4 indicated other and 13 did not specify race/ethnicity. Workplace skills assessed by mentors and students included: written communication,oral communication; technical skills, critical thinking/ problem solving; collaboration/workingwith others; flexibility/adaptability; judgment/decision making; time management;creativity/innovation;; analytical thinking; computational skills; computer skills; and technicalskills. These workplace skills are representative of key areas cited as critical for US students tobe competitive in the world marketplace 1,2,3,4.[Type text] References 1 Bok, D. Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should be Learning More. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006. 2 Casner-Lotto, J.; Brenner, M. W. Are They Really Ready to Work? Employers’ Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century U. S. Workforce. 2007. The Conference Board, Inc., the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Corporate Voices for Working Families, and the Society for Human Resources Management. 3 National Association of College and Employers. NACE Job Outlook 2011, Bethlehem, PA: NACE, 2010. 4 Bok, D. Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003. 5 Crouch, C.; Mazur, E. Peer Instruction: Ten Years of Experience and Results. American Journal of Physics, 2001, 69, 970-977. 6 National Survey of Student Engagement.. NSSE 2004. Bloomington, IN: NSSE, 2007 http://nsse.iub.edu/nsse_2004/index.cfm 7 Treisman, U. Studying Students Studying Calculus: A Look at the Lives of Minority Mathematics Students in College. The College Mathematics Journal, 1992, 23, 362-372. 8 Ohland, M.W.; Sheppard, S.D.; Lichtensteien, G.; Eris, O.; Chachra, D.; Layton, R. Persistence, Engagement, and Migration in Engineering Programs. Journal of Engineering Education, July 2008, 259-278. 9 Morton, J. Engineering Skills: The Threat from China and India? European Engineers Forum, Hanover, England, April, 2007. 10 Fouad, N. A.; Singh, R. Stemming the Tide: Why Women Leave Engineering. Milwaukee, WI: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2011.
Pinelli, T. E., & Hall, C. W., & Brush, K. M., & Perry, J. B. (2013, June), Are There Gender Differences in how Male and Female Interns and Their Mentors Rate Workforce Skills in STEM Fields? Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19220
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