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Designing Model Based Solutions To Leaky Female Engineering Pipeline: A Qualitative Study Of Female Engineer Narratives

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Effective Methods for Recruiting Women to Engineering

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count

17

Page Numbers

15.367.1 - 15.367.17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/16412

Download Count

64

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Paper Authors

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Manjusha Saraswathiamma North Dakota State University

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Manjusha T. Saraswathiamma is an ABD doctoral student in the School of Education at North Dakota State University and a Chemistry Instructor at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Moorhead, Minnesota. She received her Master of Technology degree from Cochin University of Science and Technology, and Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees from Mahatma Gandhi University, India.

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Kathy Enger North Dakota State University

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Kathy B. Enger is an Assistant Professor of Education at North Dakota State University. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from The College of St. Catherine, Master of Arts degree from the University of Iowa, and Ph.D. in Education from the University of North Dakota.

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Canan Bilen-Green North Dakota State University

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Canan Bilen-Green is an Associate Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at North Dakota State University. Bilen-Green holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Statistics from the University of Wyoming and a M.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Bilkent University, Turkey.

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Achinthya Bazebaruah North Dakota State University

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Achintya Bezbaruah is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at North Dakota State University. Bezbaruah holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska, an M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and a B. S. in Civil Engineering from Assam Engineering College in India.

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Bruce Schumacher North Dakota State University

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Bruce Schumacher is an ABD doctoral student in education at North Dakota State University. Schumacher holds an M.S. Ed. from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota, an M.A.T in Education and B. A. in History from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Designing model-based solutions to the shortage of females in the engineering profession: A qualitative study of female engineering narratives

Abstract

This paper describes a case study conducted to explore the two major causes of attrition in the female engineering “pipeline.” These are (a) factors motivating females to enter engineering programs and (b) females’ adaptability in the engineering profession. This study proposes a theoretical framework for designing better models for engineering outreach programs as well as creating female-friendly professional climates. The two major research objectives for the study are: (a) identifying factors that motivate females to become engineers and (b) determining the extent of female engineers’ job adaptability. This study analyzed 123 case interviews conducted with female engineers featured on the website engineergirl.org. The majority of participants believed their strength in high school mathematics and love for problem solving led them to the engineering field. The study also found the female engineering sample adapted well to the profession, as inferred from their professional and learning goals.

Keywords

Motivating factors, Qualitative, Grounded Theory, Leaky Pipeline, Engineering, Females, Adaptability, Theoretical Framework, Illeres’ Three Dimensional Learning Model, McClusky’s Margin in Life Theory, Margin in Life, Power, Load

Introduction

Motivation and Adaptability. Gender identity, social acceptance, and social perceptions of gender stereotypes shape the concept of traditional and non-traditional professions for females. Engineering has long been stereotyped as a male profession. Although research has proven this stereotype wrong, the perception remains that females are cognitively and physically less qualified to be engineers23, 34. State and federal affirmative action laws and Title IX of the constitution (U.S.C. § 1681) protect females against discrimination at work20, yet females remain underrepresented in non-traditional fields, particularly engineering3, 6. It is difficult to enroll females in engineering training programs and difficult to retain females in the engineering profession or engineering academia18, 35. Only a small number of the females who enter undergraduate engineering programs graduate in engineering and enter the engineering workforce. Once in the profession, females find it difficult to gain and hold administrative positions 3, 6. The resulting shortage of females in engineering has been compared to a leaky pipeline3, 6.

America must fix this leaky pipeline. According to engineering job projections, the country faces a severe shortage of engineers33. Two options exist to meet the nation’s future need for engineers. These are to increase the number of students enrolled in engineering schools and to retain current engineers. According to National Science Foundation (NSF) data from 2007, male enrollment in engineering is almost saturated. Therefore, to increase engineering school

Saraswathiamma, M., & Enger, K., & Bilen-Green, C., & Bazebaruah, A., & Schumacher, B. (2010, June), Designing Model Based Solutions To Leaky Female Engineering Pipeline: A Qualitative Study Of Female Engineer Narratives Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16412

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: © 2010 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