June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session
This project explores the experiences of student veterans in engineering through a comparative case study across four institutions: University of San Diego (USD), North Carolina State University (NCSU), Purdue University, and Clemson University. Our research plan incorporates content analysis of academic policies that student veterans encounter, interviews with key informants on each campus, focus group interviews with student veterans, and in-depth student interviews to elicit rich narratives. This study has potential for broad systemic impact by diversifying pathways to and through engineering programs.
During Year 1 (2014-2015) of the grant, we interviewed 23 key informants at our institutions. Key informants include professionals supporting veterans in student veteran success centers, financial aid, advising offices, and other student support services. We identified themes that shape student veteran experiences on these campuses: the presence/absence of key student policies and services; and gaps in the provision of such services. At each institution, there has been a heightened emphasis on improving services for veterans.
In Year 2 (2015-2016), we conducted five focus groups with a total of 21 student veterans engineering students. Participants who had significant technical responsibilities as part of their service often considered engineering to be a logical next step in their career. However, veterans with less technical responsibility in their military jobs were more attracted to engineering by financial opportunities and/or job security. Veteran students’ relationships with faculty and other students are influenced by their age and their veteran status. While many veterans viewed age as an advantage in engineering study, some cited balancing school with the family and work responsibilities that often come with age as a disadvantage. Veterans are more likely to tell their professors than other students about their veteran status.
In Year 3 (2016-2017), we conducted 62 individual interviews with veteran engineering students at our four campuses. Data from these interviews will be analyzed and compared with data from the focus groups to provide a richer description of the experiences of military veterans who choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
Lord, S. M., & Brawner, C. E., & Mobley, C., & Main, J. B., & Camacho, M. M. (2017, June), Board # 92 : Military Veteran Students’ Pathways in Engineering Education (Year 3 ) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27956
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