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Engineering Identity in Pre-College Students: A Literature Review

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Interest & Identity

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Abigail Clark Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

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Abigail Clark is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. She is currently advised by Dr. Rachel Kajfez, and is part of the RIME collaborative ( Her research interests include engineering identity development in K12 students, engineering education in informal settings, and women’s experiences in the engineering field. Prior to coming to Ohio State, Abigail worked as a researcher at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, OH. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio Northern University.

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Rachel Louis Kajfez Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Rachel Louis Kajfez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Ohio State and earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Her research interests focus on the intersection between motivation and identity of undergraduate and graduate students, first-year engineering programs, mixed methods research, and innovative approaches to teaching.

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In response to increasing demands for engineers, engineering has become a more prominent feature of K-12 education. Additionally, engineering and engineering related topics have become part of many state’s standards, further encouraging this growth. Over the last two decades, programs such as Project Lead the Way, Engineering is Elementary, and others have allowed many K-12 schools to incorporate engineering into their offerings. At the same time, many universities, corporations and other youth organizations have offered opportunities for students to learn about engineering outside of the classroom in informal settings. These programs include camps, after school programs, mentoring programs and other programmatic offerings.

Understanding how these experiences affect students by investigating the effect on students’ engineering identity may allow for a better understanding of how to support the development of strong engineering identities in pre-college students. Engineering identity is one factor tied to recruitment and retention of engineering students, so fostering an engineering identity in pre-college students may help meet the growing demand for engineers. In order to understand the current state of research, a literature review was conducted focused on pre-college engineering identity. This literature review identified existing literature from engineering education and STEM education. The findings from this literature review are used to propose new directions for research.

Clark, A., & Kajfez, R. L. (2019, June), Engineering Identity in Pre-College Students: A Literature Review Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32727

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