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Distinguishing Engineers of the Future: Comparisons with EWB-USA Members

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Socio-cultural Elements of Learning through Service

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.439.1 - 24.439.14



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Paper Authors


Kaitlin Litchfield University of Colorado, Boulder

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Kaitlin Litchfield received her undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering at the University of New Hampshire and is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering Department within the Mortenson Center for Engineering in Developing Communities. Her research interest is in recruiting, educating, and retaining engineers capable of meeting global development challenges, and her current work is focused on understanding engineers involved specifically with Engineers Without Borders-USA.

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Amy Javernick-Will University of Colorado, Boulder

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Dr. Amy Javernick-Will is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder in the Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering Department. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University and has focused her research efforts on knowledge transfer in global organizations, global projects, and increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in engineering.

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Daniel Knight University of Colorado, Boulder

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Dr. Daniel Knight is the Program Assessment and Research Associate with the Design Center Colorado in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering and Applied Science at University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Knight's duties include assessment, program evaluation, education research, and teambuilding for the Center's hands-on, industry-sponsored design projects. Dr. Knight's research interests are in assessment, teamwork, K-12, and engineering for developing communities.

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Cathy Leslie P.E. Engineers Without Borders - USA

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Distinguishing Engineers of the Future: Comparisons with EWB-USA MembersIn order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which require access to clean water andsanitation, UNESCO estimates that 2.5 million new engineers and technicians are needed in sub-SaharanAfrica alone1. Fortunately, engineers are responding to such needs through larger participation inengineering development organizations and curricula. Among these programs, Engineers WithoutBorders-USA (EWB-USA) stands out as one of the largest and most senior of engineering fordevelopment programs in the US, making it an important group to study in order to gain insight intosuch engineers. This NSF-REE funded research aims to understand differences between engineersinvolved and not involved with the organization to help educators and employers better understandengineers of the future.Extensive qualitative data collection led to the creation of a survey to test pre-educational traits,educational gains, and career expectations between engineers involved and not involved with EWB-USAto help answer the question, are EWB-USA engineers unique from engineers not involved with theorganization?. This paper will discuss the results of the pilot survey that has been administered to 5,000engineering students at a research university in the US with a large EWB-USA population. Statisticaltests will be run to determine significant differences between the two groups around survey themesincluding motivations for engineering, personality, community service attitudes, ABET outcomes,engineering identity, expected outcomes, and intended persistence. Discussion will be based aroundrecommended changes to the final survey to be administered to EWB-USA, ASCE, ASME, IEEE, and SWEin 2014. Understanding similarities and differences between these populations of engineers will helpinform how to recruit, create, and retain engineers to work toward the MDGs and other majorchallenges that engineers of the future can address.1 UNESCO, Engineering: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities for Development (France: UNESCO, 2010).

Litchfield, K., & Javernick-Will, A., & Knight, D., & Leslie, C. (2014, June), Distinguishing Engineers of the Future: Comparisons with EWB-USA Members Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20330

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