Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Pre-College Engineering Education
Interest in increasing both the number and diversity of students enrolling in engineering has resulted in significant research on students’ career choice decisions. Notably, however, while general trends have emerged, many of the models that have been developed focus on majority students. But an increasing body of work on students from a variety of specific demographic groups highlight unique socio-cultural experiences that influence individuals’ career choice decisions. Most relevant to this study, literature on rural students suggests that the lack of high-level STEM courses in rural schools and a desire to stay close to home played key roles in limiting students’ consideration of engineering as a potential career. However, little work has explored how rural communities support and promote engineering as a career choice for their students. Therefore, this study explored the ways in which rural communities provide support to help students make fully informed decisions about engineering as a college major.
The findings presented here come from Phase 2 of a three-phase study exploring engineering career choice among rural students. Using interview and focus group data collected from current engineering students in Phase 1, Phase 2 turned to community members, including high school personnel, local industry leaders, members of local governments, and members of key community organizations (e.g., 4-H). Using interviews with 16 participants across 3 communities, we address the following question: What beliefs, experiences, and practices characterize community members or organizations who support or encourage rural students to choose engineering?
The interviews explored the participants’ perceptions of their community overall, resources that helped students explore postsecondary options, barriers students faced to enrolling in postsecondary education/engineering, understanding of engineering as a field both generally and for students from that community, and ways [University Name] can be a better community partner and fulfill its mission as a public institution. This project aims to broaden participation in engineering by gaining a holistic understanding of the communities that effectively support engineering major choice for rural students and provide contextual methods of increasing support for students from these rural areas.
Vaziri, S. L., & Paretti, M. C., & Grohs, J. R., & Baum, L. M., & McGlothlin Lester, M., & Newbill, P. L. (2020, June), Broadening the Participation of Rural Students in Engineering: Exploring Community Perspectives Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34230
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