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Construction Management Technology Students Choice of Major

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

STEM Issues

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Anthony E. Sparkling Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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Anthony Sparkling is an Assistant Professor in Construction Management Technology (CMT) at Purdue University where he teaches courses in mechanical and electrical systems, electrical estimating, and electrical construction. His research interests include teams, organizations, contract governance, organizational processes, project/team performance and behavioral feedback systems. Meanwhile, he has a growing interest in the skilled-trades shortage in the United States.

He can be contacted at

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Anne M. Lucietto Purdue Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Lucietto has focused her research in engineering technology education and the understanding of engineering technology students. She teaches in an active learning style which engages and develops practical skills in the students. Currently she is exploring the performance and attributes of engineering technology students and using that knowledge to engage them in their studies.

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Aayushi Sinha Purdue University

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I'm a undergraduate student studying mathematics and statistics who is interested in analysis of data. Working on this paper will give me a good idea of how to analyze data and what goes into writing a research paper.

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Trenton Thomas Hasser Purdue Polytechnic Institute

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Held positions in agriculture, the U.S. military, and logistics prior to attending Purdue University. That experience has expanded to include project management, project engineering, and apprentice electrician work, while pursuing a Construction Management Technology – BS.

Active in student mentorship programs, and the Sigma Lambda Chi: International Construction Honors Society. Pursuing a career in electrical contracting as a project engineer, following graduation in the summer of 2019.

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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

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015