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Chemical Engineering Major Selection Throughout the First Year: A Mixed-Methods Approach

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

ChemE Curriculum: Freshman and Sophomore

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

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Katherine Rae Tanner Ohio State University


Rachel Louis Kajfez Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Ohio State and earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Her research interests focus on the intersection between motivation and identity of undergraduate and graduate students, first-year engineering programs, mixed methods research, and innovative approaches to teaching.

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Krista M Kecskemety Ohio State University

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Krista Kecskemety is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. Krista received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at The Ohio State University in 2006 and received her M.S. from Ohio State in 2007. In 2012, Krista completed her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at Ohio State. Her engineering education research interests include investigating first-year engineering student experiences, faculty experiences, and the connection between the two.

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For any student in the first year of an undergraduate program, there are an overwhelming number of decisions to make. One of the biggest of these is choosing what to study. This choice is influenced by many complex factors and is difficult to predict or fully understand. A better recognition of why a student opts into and stays in a major could yield a deeper understanding into how students choose a major and what they expect from engineering careers. This paper examines students who chose chemical engineering and completed a set of surveys administered during their first year of study. The surveys contained questions that were both quantitative and qualitative in nature. In total, 32 complete response sets were included in the analysis from students who answered all three surveys and chose chemical engineering as their major in any of the three surveys. These responses were selected to investigate the major selection path of students who opt in and stay in the chemical engineering program by the end of their first year.

Tanner, K. R., & Kajfez, R. L., & Kecskemety, K. M. (2018, June), Chemical Engineering Major Selection Throughout the First Year: A Mixed-Methods Approach Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30188

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