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June 22, 2020
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This complete research paper examines the connection between student beliefs about engineering as a profession, as well as the perceptions of their family and friends, to their reported self-efficacy, career expectations, and grittiness. The student responses examined were obtained from non-calculus ready engineering students at a large land grant institution in the Mid-Atlantic region. The students participated in a well-established program focused on cohort formation, mentorship, professional skill development, and fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging in engineering. The program, consisting of a one-week pre-fall bridge experience and two common courses, was founded in 2012 and has been operating with National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM funding since 2016. Students who received S-STEM funded scholarships are required to participate in focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and complete LAESE, MSLQ, and GRIT questionnaires each semester. The researchers applied qualitative coding methods to evaluate student responses from focus groups and one-one-one interviews which were conducted from 2017 to 2019. Questions examined in this paper include: 1) How would you describe an engineer? 2) Please describe what you think an engineer does on a daily basis. 3) What do you think your friends/family think of engineering? 4) What skills or characteristics do you think good engineers have? 5) What types of careers do you believe are filled by degree holding engineers? Student responses on the aforementioned questions were related to the self-efficacy, career expectation, and grit values obtained from the LAESE, MSLQ, and GRIT instruments. The nature of this longitudinal study allows the evolution of student responses to also be examined as they matriculate through their education. Additional analysis was performed to identify themes and numerical trends associated with student populations such as, underrepresented minorities, females, and first-generation college students.
Results of this research are presented in an effort to further highlight the importance of exposure to STEM fields during an individual’s K-12 education, and express how student perceptions, self-efficacy, GRIT, and career expectations evolve over their undergraduate education.
Morris, M. L., & Dygert, J., & Hensel, R. A. (2020, June), How Do Student Perceptions of Engineers and Engineering as a Career Relate to their Self-Efficacy, Career Expectations, and Grittiness? Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34729
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