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Board 263: Elective Track Choice and Career Attitudes in Engineering Undergraduate Education: Antecedents, Gender Differences, and Implications

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Conference

2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

6

DOI

10.18260/1-2--42710

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/42710

Download Count

99

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Paper Authors

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Teresa Cardador

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Teresa Cardador is an Associate Professor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research centers on how occupations, organizations, and personal orientations toward work (e.g., callings) affect

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Karin Jensen University of Michigan Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9456-5042

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Karin Jensen, Ph.D. (she/her) is an assistant professor in biomedical engineering and engineering education research at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include mental health and wellness, engineering student career pathways, and engagement of engineering faculty in engineering education research.

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Grisel Lopez-Alvarez University of Illinois, Urbana - Champaign

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Isabel Miller University of Michigan

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Isabel Miller (she/her) is pursuing a PhD in Engineering Education Research at the University of Michigan. She received her BS and MS degrees in Bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is interested in the researching the experiences of students with disabilities.

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Hannah Chiou

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Andrea J. Kunze Delta State University

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Andrea Kunze is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS. Prior to Delta State University, she served as the curriculum and assessment specialist at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UW-Madison. She is an educational psychologist by training whose scholarship focuses on utilizing mixed method research designs to examine self-regulatory processes and learning outcomes in students learning across face-to-face and digital environments.

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Sohee Kim University of Illinois, Urbana - Champaign

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Sohee Kim is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Human Resources at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests focus on the challenges faced by workers, with a particular emphasis on issues related to female workers. Prior to joining the University of Illinois, Sohee earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Psychology and her Master's degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. She has presented her research at annual meeting of the Academy of Management and Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology annual conference.

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Abstract

With support from the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) Program, this Institutional and Community Transformation project aims to serve the national interest of broadening participation by improving the representation of women in more technically-oriented roles and career paths within engineering. Research has shown that women who pursue engineering careers are more likely than their male counterparts to be in less technical roles and careers paths, and these gendered career patterns increase attrition risk for female engineers. This project focuses on female engineering students' elective track choices and career attitudes as potential “upstream” predictors of gendered career patterns and investigates the driving forces behind elective track choices and career path decisions for female engineering students. The research is grounded in intra-occupational sex segregation and social cognitive career theories. We systematically explore elective track choices and career attitudes among aspiring engineers in three engineering departments—Bioengineering, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. In our poster presentation, we will present the main findings of this multi-year, multi-method research study. In particular, we will provide an overview of our findings with respect to the following research questions: (1) What personal and programmatic factors contribute to women engineering students’ elective track selection? Do these factors differ by major; (2) What curricular and extra-curricular factors are most related to women students’ elective track selection in bioengineering? Do the relationships between these factors and track choice vary by gender or track? What are students’ career outcome expectations associated with elective track selection? Do these outcome expectations vary by gender or track? What career sectors and career paths do bioengineering students report most interest in pursuing? Do these career interests vary by gender or elective track? (3) How do women engineering students characterize, and show interest in, the technical vs. managerial career paths in engineering industry? (4) How do women engineering students view the relevance of professional skills for their educational and career success? How do these views change over the course of their education? (5) Do social-emotional skills predict career path attitudes and preferences among engineering students? Does gender moderate these relationships? and (6) How, if at all, has Covid shaped female engineering students career attitudes and interests? We will discuss research findings in more detail and describe how and why contributions from the body of research stemming from this project will help inform theory and practice related to improving the diversity of students participating in the more technically-oriented roles and career paths within engineering and will provide insight into institutional changes to enhance gender equality in engineering education curricula in order to better prepare women to enter technical roles in the workforce.

Cardador, T., & Jensen, K., & Lopez-Alvarez, G., & Miller, I., & Chiou, H., & Kunze, A. J., & Kim, S. (2023, June), Board 263: Elective Track Choice and Career Attitudes in Engineering Undergraduate Education: Antecedents, Gender Differences, and Implications Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--42710

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