July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Historically, BME undergraduate programs have been designed to expose students to the broad spectrum of knowledge required to adequately address problems in engineering and medicine. While their resultant knowledge base has allowed for flexibility in the careers that undergraduate biomedical engineers can enter, many BME students also believe that the broad curriculum may lead them to be perceived by employers as underprepared to enter industry positions upon graduation. Recent studies have validated this concern as BME students report fewer co-op and industry internship placements pre-graduation, enter the job market with fewer available jobs seeking BME graduates, and receive lower average annual salaries than other engineering disciplines. However, despite the challenges, students continue to pursue and persist through BME undergraduate degrees. If the perception is that their options are limited in industry, it is important to identify and understand the careers that students view as interesting and choose to pursue. To explore what students perceived as possible for a career upon graduation, this longitudinal study examined changes in BME students’ career aspirations over time. Fourteen (14) undergraduate BME students were interviewed three times over the course of their third year at a large R1, public university. A qualitative, open-coding approach was used to look for patterns of change at the individual and group levels. Findings indicated that most participants’ initial view of possible careers in the field was narrow. Over the course of the study, changes in participants’ understanding of career possibilities were observed based on if they had already decided what career they wished to pursue or not. For those who had not decided on a career yet, concrete exposures to possible BME careers were important to students’ development of more optimistic BME career outlooks. Suggestions for future research to more broadly understand BME students’ career exploration is also presented.
Jamison, C. S. E., & Wang, A. A., & Huang-Saad, A., & Daly, S. R., & Lattuca, L. R. (2021, July), BME Career Exploration: Examining Students’ Career Perspectives Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36753
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