June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Women in Engineering
26.772.1 - 26.772.18
Female Millennial Perceptions of Engineering’s ‘Brand’Post-secondary engineering programs in Canada have struggled to increase female enrollmentabove 20% of their student body for more than two decades. Expanding the pipeline of femaleapplicants requires that more young girls select and succeed in high school engineeringprerequisites. Research shows that many young girls are deciding to opt out of these STEM(science, technology, engineering, and math) prerequisites because of the inaccurate and out-dated stereotypes about women in engineering held by young girls and their main influencers:parents, teachers, guidance counsellors and peers. This paper examines a participatory researchproject in which 36 young girls (ages 14-18) born into the 'millennial generation', conductedinterviews and completed tasks related to four research questions:1. How do girls' feelings about femininity impact decisions they make about their future?2. How do girls communicate, on and off line?3. How do images affect the way girls perceive engineering and create meaning?4. What do girls know about engineering and what do they want for their future?We hypothesized that facilitating a 'for girls, by girls' participatory research project would clarifywhat the current 'brand' of engineering is as it is understood by millennial girls and break outwhat both appealing or repelling features of that brand. This paper discusses norms, values anddesires commonly held by millennial generation girls which demand responsive changes frominfluencers, as well as engineering communication and outreach professionals. The findings alsostrengthen the STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) movement's advocacyfor emphasizing creative, collaborative and design-focused experiential learning as an effectivemethod for building and reinforcing girls' confidence in STEM subjects.
Kissane, L. M., & Fang, L., & Silver, R. J. (2015, June), Female Millennial Perceptions of Engineering’s ‘Brand’ Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24109
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