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Helping Engineering Students Get Jobs: Views from Career Services Professionals

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Mentoring, Advising, and Facilitating Learning

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

17

DOI

10.18260/p.25454

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/25454

Download Count

92

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Paper Authors

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Cheryl Carrico P.E. Virginia Tech

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Cheryl Carrico is a Postdoctoral Research faculty member for Virginia Tech. Her current research focus relates to STEM career pathways (K-12 through early career) and conceptual understanding of core engineering principles. Dr. Carrico owns a research and consulting company specializing in research evaluations and industry consulting. Dr. Carrico received her B.S. in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech, Masters of Engineering from North Carolina State University, MBA from King University, and PhD in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. Dr. Carrico is a certified project management professional (PMP) and licensed professional engineer (P.E.).

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Angela Harris Stanford University

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Angela is currently a Fellow with the Thinking Matters program at Stanford University. Angela received her PhD in Stanford's Environmental Engineering and Science Program (Spring 2015). Angela completed her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology prior to coming to Stanford for her M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Angela conducts research related to water, sanitation, and child health in developing countries. Angela has extensive experience in developing survey questionnaires and conducting structured observations at the household level as a part of research studies in Tanzania, Kenya, and Bangladesh. Alongside her work in environmental engineering, Angela also conducts research related to engineering education as part of DEL group. Currently her work related to education seeks to better understand student career choices and institutional support for students in career development and career preparation. She also works on better understanding undergraduate engineering student interests, behaviors, development, and career choices related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

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Holly M. Matusovich Virginia Tech

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Dr. Matusovich is an Assistant Professor and Assistant Department Head for Graduate Programs in Virginia Tech’s Department of Engineering Education. She has her doctorate in Engineering Education and her strengths include qualitative and mixed methods research study design and implementation. She is/was PI/Co-PI on 8 funded research projects including a CAREER grant. She has won several Virginia Tech awards including a Dean’s Award for Outstanding New Faculty. Her research expertise includes using motivation and related frameworks to study student engagement in learning, recruitment and retention in engineering programs and careers, faculty teaching practices and intersections of motivation and learning strategies. Matusovich has authored a book chapter, 10 journal manuscripts and more than 50 conference papers.

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Samantha Ruth Brunhaver Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus

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Samantha Brunhaver is an Assistant Professor of Engineering in the Fulton Schools of Engineering Polytechnic School. Dr. Brunhaver recently joined Arizona State after completing her M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. She also has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University. Dr. Brunhaver's research examines the career decision-making and professional identity formation of engineering students, alumni, and practicing engineers. She also conducts studies of new engineering pedagogy that help to improve student engagement and understanding.

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Ruth A. Streveler Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Ruth A. Streveler is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Dr. Streveler has been the Principal Investigator or co-Principal Investigator of ten grants funded by the US National Science Foundation. She has published articles in the Journal of Engineering Education and the International Journal of Engineering Education and has contributed to the Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research. She has presented workshops to over 500 engineering faculty on four continents. Dr. Streveler’s primary research interests are investigating students’ understanding of difficult concepts in engineering science and helping engineering faculty conduct rigorous research in engineering education.

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Sheri Sheppard Stanford University

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Sheri D. Sheppard, Ph.D., P.E., is professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. Besides teaching both undergraduate and graduate design and education related classes at Stanford University, she conducts research on engineering education and work-practices, and applied finite element analysis. From 1999-2008 she served as a Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, leading the Foundation’s engineering study (as reported in Educating Engineers: Designing for the Future of the Field). In addition, in 2011 Dr. Sheppard was named as co-PI of a national NSF innovation center (Epicenter), and leads an NSF program at Stanford on summer research experiences for high school teachers. Her industry experiences includes engineering positions at Detroit's "Big Three:" Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, and Chrysler Corporation.

At Stanford she has served a chair of the faculty senate, and recently served as Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

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Abstract

A diverse and highly skilled engineering workforce is needed to address today’s grand challenges involving sustainability, medicine, information technology, and learning. To grow such a workforce, research is needed to better grasp the decision-making of early career engineers as they seek their first post-undergraduate job. To aide in understanding this process, we first sought to understand the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that career service professionals believe are critical for students to develop. Accordingly, we analyzed semi-structured qualitative interviews with career service professionals at two universities to answer the research questions: What knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) do career service professionals perceive as important for undergraduate engineering students during the process of applying to, being considered for, and obtaining a job offer? How do career services professionals help students gain these KSAs? Our findings suggest that both universities believe their school’s reputation insures employers that their engineering students will have sound engineering skills. In addition, they believe that acquiring a job offer requires a dynamic set of interactive abilities, such as marketing themselves and networking, which may not be addressed within the engineering curriculum or fully understood by students. Differences included approaches of optional versus required exposure to career services and philosophies of providing one-on-one assistance to proactively support students versus optional support designed to develop a student’s self-awareness. Our findings suggest that career service professionals use their beliefs about students as a basis for decisions on how to support students. Implications of our study include considerations for how we inform students regarding knowledge and skills associated with successfully obtaining a first job post-undergraduate degree and how those knowledge and skills may be different from ones necessary to obtain an engineering degree.

Carrico, C., & Harris, A., & Matusovich, H. M., & Brunhaver, S. R., & Streveler, R. A., & Sheppard, S. (2016, June), Helping Engineering Students Get Jobs: Views from Career Services Professionals Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25454

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