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Engineering Student Involvement

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Retention of Women Students II

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.556.1 - 25.556.17



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Paper Authors


Kerry Meyers University of Notre Dame

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Kerry L. Meyers is a professional faculty member in the College of Engineering at Notre Dame and an instructor and coordinator in the First-year Engineering program, and she is also involved with students at a variety of levels, including a graduate student teaching apprentice program, an undergraduate peer mentoring program, and STEM outreach (Expanding Your Horizon’s program). She has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, M.S. in mechanical engineering from Oakland University, and completed her Ph.D. in engineering education at Purdue University. Meyers has several years of industrial experience in automotive design, but has since shifted her focus to engineering education.

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Catherine F. Pieronek University of Notre Dame

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Catherine F. Pieronek is Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of the Women's Engineering Program in the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. She holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering and a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame, and an M.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include the persistence of women in engineering, and especially the use of Title IX as a tool to remove the barriers that affect the persistence of women in STEM fields.

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Leo H. McWilliams University of Notre Dame

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Leo H. McWilliams is the Director of the Minority Engineering program in the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining Notre Dame, he worked as a Principal Engineer at Honeywell International. McWilliams received his B.A. in economics, and his B.S.E.E., M.S.E.E., and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame.

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The Profile of Engineering Student LeadersEngineering education researchers have long been interested in questions relating to persistencein engineering undergraduate education, specifically who goes into engineering, who stays inengineering, and why. And within the engineering educational community it is generallyaccepted that increased student engagement leads to higher persistence. The current study isfocused on a college of engineering and trying to understand who becomes involved inengineering organizations and who emerges as leaders within those organizations as a measureof student engagement. By identifying who becomes involved with engineering organizationswe can begin to probe why and how they became involved and develop a profile of engineeringstudent leaders. This would help engineering administrators to better understand studentinterests and needs and to alter support structures to promote engagement and persistence. Across-sectional study of engineering students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) at a mediumsized, Midwestern, private institution was conducted during the fall of 2011. The study involvedan on-line survey sent to over 1000 engineering students to ask about their extra-curricularinvolvements both within the college and the university as a whole. We further probe reasonsfor getting involved with each organization and examine if they ever considered leavingengineering. The results are analyzed statistically with demographic and experiential questionsserving as critical co-variants in defining differences between students that aremembers/participants, leader/officers, and non-participants. Survey results are presented, andcritical findings are discussed in the context of defining engineering student leaders and relatingthem to the “average engineering student.”

Meyers, K., & Pieronek, C. F., & McWilliams, L. H. (2012, June), Engineering Student Involvement Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21313

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