New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
This research paper investigates what motivates students to major in engineering, and how the motives differ between men and women. It aims to address curriculum planning in first-year engineering programs to improve retention and diversity. Previous research has identified course practices – such as team-based projects – that have positively impacted engagement of women in engineering. Understanding the motivations for students to choose engineering can connect the reasons why certain curricular practices resonate with student desires. These reasons can be integrated into course projects. A literature review and analysis of essay responses were used to generate a series of motivations to investigate. A Likert scale survey relating these motivations to reasons that students chose engineering was conducted in first-year engineering courses. A scale of altruistic to individualistic motivating factors to major in engineering was evaluated for appropriateness to this discussion on differences between men and women. A statistically significant difference was found in a desire to help society, previous engineering experience, and career opportunities.
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