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Gender and Self-Efficacy in Engineering: Embracing Failure and a Growth Mindset for Female High School Students (Fundamental)

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Fundamental: K-12 Student Beliefs, Motivation, and Self Efficacy

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


J. Jill Rogers University of Arizona

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J. Jill Rogers is the assistant director for ENGR 102 HS at the University of Arizona. ENGR 102 HS is an AP-type, college level, introductory engineering course offered to high school students. Over the years Rogers has developed K-12 science summer camps, conducted K-12 educational research, developed engineering curricula for formal and informal education venues, and developed robotics outreach programs for children’s museums and K-12 schools. Rogers is a certified teacher and holds a Master’s of Science in Education. Her Master’s thesis topic examined middle school student attitudes towards robotics and focused on gender differences. She is a member of the National Science Teachers Association, Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O) and American Society for Engineering Education. She has long been an advocate for improving K-12 STEM education. Her interest lies in the K-12 pipeline to engineering and ways to bring young people, particularly under represented populations, into STEM careers.

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Rebecca Primeau University of Arizona

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Rebecca Primeau is the Associate Director of Recruitment & Student Engagement in the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona. In this role she is responsible for designing and coordinating undergraduate recruitment and retention programs, with a specific focus on women and other minority student populations. Her work on diversity and first-year retention extends to several areas, including the Women in Engineering Program, the Engineering Leadership Community, the Engineering Ambassadors Program, and the Engineering Scholars Program. Rebecca received an M.A. degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan in 2009. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Higher Education at the University of Arizona.

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Noel Kathleen Hennessey University of Arizona

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Noel Hennessey is the Coordinator for Outreach, Recruitment and Retention in the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona. She is responsible for first-year experience through residential education, student development and retention, and designing outreach activities and events for undergraduate recruitment. Noel earned a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education from the University of Arizona in 2015 and is currently pursuing a PhD in the same department.

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James C. Baygents University of Arizona

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Prof. James C. Baygents, The University of Arizona
James C. Baygents is the associate dean of the College of Engineering at The University of Arizona. His primary responsibilities include academic affairs and recruitment, admissions and retention programs. Jim is a member of the Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering (ChEE) and the Program in Applied Mathematics at The UA. Jim joined The UA Engineering faculty as an assistant professor in 1991, the same year he received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Princeton University. He also holds an M.A. (Princeton, 1981) and a B.S. (Rice, 1980) in chemical engineering.
Jim has received the Arizona Mortar Board Senior Honor Society award for outstanding faculty service and the College of Engineering Award for Excellence at the Student Interface. In 1997, he was awarded an International Research Fellowship by the National Science Foundation for study at the University of Melbourne. Jim is head of the ENGR 102 HS team that was recognized in 2014 by ASEE for best practices in K-12 University partnerships. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi and Phi Lambda Upsilon honor societies, and the College of Fellows at Rice University’s Will Rice College.
Jim’s research interests include: transport processes in natural and engineered systems; separations and water treatment processes; diffusion-reaction-precipitation in aqueous electrolyte systems; electrokinetic theory, measurements and separations; electrically driven fluid motion and transport processes, including microfluidics; and industrial water treatment for recycle and re-use.

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Gender and Self-Efficacy in Engineering: Embracing Failure and a Growth Mindset for female high school students (Fundamental)

Abstract Over the last decade much attention has been drawn to the lack of women in engineering careers and the need to attract and retain them in the field. This paper will discuss prior research focused on female student self-efficacy in engineering and the subsequent treatments that have been applied at various stages in the STEM pipeline. Then we will examine the ENGR 102 HS program and results from four years of student course evaluation surveys (n=1093).

ENGR 102 High School (HS) is an introduction to engineering course offered in 34 high schools. Students who enroll in the University of Arizona course receive three units of credit from the College of Engineering (COE) towards an engineering degree. Now in its eighth year of operation, the ENGR 102 HS program reaches diverse student populations around the state. ENGR 102 HS looks to fill the pipeline to undergraduate engineering degrees with diverse, capable, informed students of both genders. While gender parity is not necessarily our goal, we strive to create opportunity, diminish barriers and to deliver a curriculum with a broad appeal.

Data analysis for this paper concentrates on selected questions from the ENGR 102 HS course evaluations. Our results examine female (n=220) and male (n=873) high school student responses. Specifically, we explored the landscape of female ENGR 102 HS high school student self-efficacy in engineering to include attitudes towards failure, and mindset. Results demonstrated that female ENGR 102 HS students possessed a significantly lower engineering self-efficacy than male students. With respect to mindset and fear of failure, male and female ENGR 102 HS students displayed no statically significant difference.

Rogers, J. J., & Primeau, R., & Hennessey, N. K., & Baygents, J. C. (2016, June), Gender and Self-Efficacy in Engineering: Embracing Failure and a Growth Mindset for Female High School Students (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27006

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