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Factors Influencing High School Students’ to Pursue an Engineering Baccalaureate

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

High School Engineering Programs, Curriculum, and Evaluation

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.704.1 - 22.704.14



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Paper Authors


David R. Shields P.E. University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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David R. Shields, Ph.D., P.E. Dr. Shields is an Associate Professor and Director of the Construction Engineering and Management Program in the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has received two outstanding faculty awards and one service award at UNLV. He has over 25 years of industry and government experience in construction, engineering, and research and eight years of academic experience. He is the Secretary of the National Society of Professional Engineers’ Practice Division, Professional Engineers in Construction. He also serves on the Temporary Construction Structures Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was Co-Chair of the ASCE Civil Engineering in the Oceans V conference. He is currently a nominee for the Cornerstone Award in the Associated General Contractors’ Skill, Integrity and Responsibility Awards Program. He has served on the Long-Range Planning Committee of the American Council of Construction Education. He is a member of the Associated General Contractors’ Manpower, Education and Training Committee. He is active in the local chapter of the Construction Management Association of America. He has participated in research with the Construction Industry Institute, Center for Construction Industry Studies, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, OSHA and other organizations. He has published more than 24 journal and conference papers. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and the M.S. and B.S. from Texas A&M University.

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Krishna Prasad Kisi University of Nevada Las Vegas Orcid 16x16

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Krishna P. Kisi, E.I.T. holds a M.S. in Construction Management from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a Diploma and a Bachelor in Civil Engineering from Tribhuvan University. He has several years of experience in international and U.S. colleges and universities teaching AutoCAD, surveying, construction estimating, and engineering mechanics. His previous employment includes four years as a civil engineer and a project engineer.

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Factors Influencing High School Students’ to Pursue an Engineering BaccalaureateExploratory research was conducted to investigate several factors among high-school students. First, a common andwidely held belief is that a significant factor influencing high-school students to select an engineering-educationprogram is due to parental, family, relatives or close personal or family friend’s present or past employment in anengineering or related field. Limited research provides some credibility to this hypothesis. The second areainvestigated was students’ post high school educational and career plans. The research reported in this paper waspart of a larger study that included architecture and construction studies. Data was collected in Nevada’s ClarkCounty School District (CCSD), the fifth largest in the United States. CCSD is a leader in developing pre-engineering, pre-architecture, and pre-construction management education programs. CCSD embarked on anambitious program of constructing five Career and Technical Academies (CATA) to provide the facilities foroffering these educational programs. The first CATA was opened in 2007. New construction results in a newCATA coming on-line in a one-year sequential schedule. One existing school was converted to accelerate theprocess. When a new CATA is opened it initially admits grade 9 and 10 students. Students at four CATA’s whowere enrolled in pre-engineering, pre-architecture, and pre-construction management education programsparticipated. Responses were obtained from 880 students, of which 288 were enrolled in the pre-engineeringcurriculum. These 288 students are the subject of this paper. In this research four hypothesis were investigated: (1)parent’s or family members’ employment in engineering related industry affects a student’s decision to selectengineering as an area of study in high school; (2) parent’s or family members’ employment in engineering relatedindustry influences the interest of a student in planning to pursue a baccalaureate degree in engineering; (3) studentswho were enrolled in the high-school, pre-engineering curriculum plan to pursue their baccalaureate degree inengineering; (4) students planning to pursue a baccalaureate in engineering is independent of their belief thatemployment is readily available in their engineering discipline. Analysis of the data supported the four hypothesesfinding a positive relationship in all cases. In addition, the research analyzed the relationship between students’academic interest and their self-reported academic performance in mathematics and science. Results presentedinclude descriptive statistics and nonparametric tests. The research results will expand the body of knowledge andbenefit secondary and university educators, advisors and administrators in understanding student interest in and theirchoice to study pre-engineering at the high school level and their ultimate plans for engineering baccalaureate study.

Shields, D. R., & Kisi, K. P. (2011, June), Factors Influencing High School Students’ to Pursue an Engineering Baccalaureate Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17985

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