June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Policymakers and universities continue to bring awareness to societal challenges as they encourage and support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. A growing urgency in the United States and abroad exist to maintain a strong workforce and leadership in STEM for economic growth in a rapidly growing technological society. K-12 school systems have taken on this challenge with increasing fervor by opening specialized STEM high schools. These high schools not only promote STEM but focus on narrowing the gender, race, and achievement gaps known to persist in this area. They have placed a strong emphasis on those students emanating from underrepresented minority groups and the loss of this potential human and intellectual capital. Researchers over the years have investigated STEM education from the perspective of barriers and factors that influence career decisions using overarching literature and evidence from high school STEM and College Bridge Programs. The research speaks to certain gender differences and environments more conducive for students to excel in STEM majors (e.g., females developing strong social identities in male-dominated fields such as engineering). With longitudinal study data, some researcher has articulated the relationship with math anxiety in high school and STEM career trajectories. Moreover, attributing this connection to the lapse in STEM interest during a vital period in which career identities are developing. A recent case study takes a step forward investigating this phenomenon with an emphasis on Construction Management (CM) Programs. There is a growing need to replace an aging construction workforce and shortfall in skilled tradespeople, especially considering many do not consider construction an ideal career choice. A vital point often overlooked is the underlying motivation to pursue STEM or CM as a career choice. Despite attempts, there is an opportunity to gain deeper insights from individuals in CM degree programs. This study explores the following research questions: 1) What are the common attributes of college students that decide to pursue CM degrees; and, 2) What key motivational drivers that encourage students to remain in STEM majors? The study population considered were those students enrolled in CM undergraduate degree program in the United States (US). Over 100 students participated in an online survey to assess their backgrounds and experiences. Results illustrate early career decisions and other underlying motives shape students’ decisions to pursue CM undergraduate degree programs. Key drivers such as family background, personal interests, and role models/mentors are related to CM degree program and CM career choices. This study helps inform a broader narrative around STEM education and offers clues for organizations that are often trying to attract and retain a more diverse student body in STEM fields.
Sparkling, A. E., & Lucietto, A. M., & Sinha, A., & Hasser, T. T. (2019, June), Construction Management Technology Students Choice of Major Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32544
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