Asee peer logo

Factors Influencing High School Students’ Career Considerations In Stem Fields

Download Paper |

Conference

2009 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Issues and Opportunities in IE Education

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

14.624.1 - 14.624.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4811

Download Count

120

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Paul Kauffmann East Carolina University

visit author page

Paul J. Kauffmann is Professor and Chair in the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University. His industry career included positions as Plant Manager and Engineering Director. Dr. Kauffmann received a BS degree in Electrical Engineering and MENG in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Penn State and is a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia and North Carolina.

visit author page

biography

Cathy Hall East Carolina University

visit author page

Cathy W. Hall is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at East Carolina University. She received her BA degree in psychology from Emory University and a Ph.D. from University of Georgia. Her experience includes positions as a school psychologist, director of the school psychology program at Fort Hays State University, and psychologist in Kelly Psychological Service Center. Her research interest include resiliency in relation to adjustment and metacognition.

visit author page

biography

Michael Bosse East Carolina University

visit author page

Michael J. Bossé is an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education at East Carolina University. Having earned his PhD at the University of Connecticut, he continues to research and publish in various areas of mathematics education including: learning and cognition, pedagogy, technology, distance education, integration and curriculum.

visit author page

biography

David Batts East Carolina University

visit author page

David Batts is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Technology Systems at East Carolina University. His career experiences include industrial consulting and managing an outreach center. Dr. David Batts received his BS degree in Industrial Technology, MS degree in Occupational Safety and EdD in Educational Leadership from East Carolina University.

visit author page

biography

Laurie Moses East Carolina University

visit author page

Laurie A. Moses is serving as project coordinator for an NSF grant, and she is also a graduate student at East Carolina University. She received her BA in Psychology from University of Missouri-Columbia and is currently working toward her Mastes degree in Research Psychology at East Carolina University.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Factors Influencing High School Students Career Considerations in STEM Fields

Abstract

While sporadic gains have been made in recent years in attracting minority and female students to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, there yet remains a significant underrepresentation of females and minorities who pursue academic degrees in these areas. This study assessed different variables that could influence high school students to consider STEM career options. Ninety-four high school students (43 male and 51 female; 52 African American and 42 Caucasian) attending a summer technology academy participated in the study. These students were nominated by their respective high schools as demonstrating potential in STEM academic areas but, due to inhibiting factors (gender, minority status, and/or financial issues), might not choose to pursue these academic and careers options as young adults. During the course of the program, students were asked to provide information on factors such as peer influences, family, school, and media that they felt were influential in their consideration of viable careers. While several areas assessed were consistent across gender and race, notable differences were identified. This paper highlights the importance of better understanding of influences in career considerations as crucial to help guide interventions to improve STEM career selection for women and minorities.

Representation Issues and Career Choices in STEM Fields

Although STEM field populations have grown, this pace has not keeping up with the overall labor market.1 In 2006, STEM professionals accounted for 5 percent of all the employment in the United States; this was down from 5.6 percent from 2001. This decline mirrored post secondary enrollment in STEM degree fields.2 While the actual enrollment in STEM degree fields increased from 519,000 students in 1994-1995 to 578,000 students in 2003-2004, the proportion of undergraduate degrees awarded in STEM fields actually declined from 32 percent to 27 percent of all degrees awarded. This decline has significant economic implications3 since the U.S. needs to produce more graduates in the STEM fields to maintain America’s competitive advantage in technology areas.

The demographics of the U.S. will change dramatically over the next few decades.3 It is predicted that the current Caucasian majority will cease to be the majority of the total population by 2050.3,4 The African American population over this same time frame will double in size and the Hispanic-Latino population will quadruple. This increase, however, does not necessarily mean that many of these individuals will choose careers in science and engineering unless major changes are seen. These individuals present a strong, albeit largely untapped, resource for building the nation’s scientific workforce.5

African Americans and Hispanics-Latinos compromised only six percent of the science and engineering labor force in 1993. From 1995 to 2005, non-Hispanic minorities showed no increases in proportion to undergraduate engineering enrollment and Hispanics made minimal gains from seven percent to nine percent.4 With these demographic trends in mind, the National

Kauffmann, P., & Hall, C., & Bosse, M., & Batts, D., & Moses, L. (2009, June), Factors Influencing High School Students’ Career Considerations In Stem Fields Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/4811

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: © 2009 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