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Do Students Believe Girls Belong in Engineering? So What?

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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

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Henriette D. Burns Washington State University, Vancouver

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Henriette has worked at Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Labs, Baxter Labs, Tenneco, Monsanto, Frucon Construction, SC Johnson Wax and HP as a design engineer, a manufacturing engineer and a project manager. She holds an engineering degree from Northwestern University, an MBA from University of Oregon and a MiT from Washington State University where she is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Math/Science Education. Henriette’s research agenda is unveiling and understanding the identity of non-typical STEM bound students, especially girls in engineering; through interest and belongingness by promoting empathy-based engineering design in instruction and practice.

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Sean Palmer Marquardt Rice Washington State University, Vancouver

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In January of 2016 we began a mixed method, longitudinal study at a middle school in the Pacific Northwest. The survey was math, science and STEM (which comprised of life science, earth-space science, technology-engineering and math puzzles). The survey was expanded to include the question, “Do girls belong in engineering?” The results of the 2016 survey reflected numerous relationships between believing girls belong in engineering and other STEM interests that could impact pedagogy and curriculum development. For instance, all the girls who attended the after-school program believed girls belong in engineering compared to approximately 65% of the 6th grade girls, 55% of the 7th grade girls, 42% of the 6th grade boys and 41% of the 7th grade boys. Statistical modeling revealed endorsement of girls in engineering significantly moderates the effect of gender on earth-space science STEM interest, such that the more an individual believes girls belong in engineering, the more likely girls will report higher interest in earth-science interest. It matters what kids believe in. Perception matters. STEM education could improve the reputation of STEM, especially engineering, as a more approachable and caring profession where girls belong.

Burns, H. D., & Rice, S. P. M. (2018, June), Do Students Believe Girls Belong in Engineering? So What? Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30342

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