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How the "Needs of the Force" Impact Navy and Marine Corps Veterans' Decision to Major in Engineering

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Military and Veterans Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Military and Veterans

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32899

Download Count

1

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Paper Authors

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Catherine E. Brawner Research Triangle Educational Consultants

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Catherine E. Brawner is President of Research Triangle Educational Consultants. She received her Ph.D.in Educational Research and Policy Analysis from NC State University in 1996. She also has an MBA from Indiana University (Bloomington) and a bachelor’s degree from Duke University. She specializes in evaluation and research in engineering education, computer science education, and technology education. Dr. Brawner is a founding member and former treasurer of Research Triangle Park Evaluators, an American Evaluation Association affiliate organization and is a member of the American Educational Research Association and American Evaluation Association, in addition to ASEE. Dr. Brawner is also an Extension Services Consultant for the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) and, in that role, advises computer science and engineering departments on diversifying their undergraduate student population. She remains an active researcher, including studying academic policies, gender and ethnicity issues, transfers, and matriculation models with MIDFIELD as well as student veterans in engineering. Her evaluation work includes evaluating teamwork models, broadening participation initiatives, and S-STEM and LSAMP programs.

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Susan M. Lord University of San Diego

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Susan M. Lord received a B.S. from Cornell University and the M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. She is currently Professor and Chair of Integrated Engineering at the University of San Diego. Her teaching and research interests include inclusive pedagogies, electronics, optoelectronics, materials science, first year engineering courses, feminist and liberative pedagogies, engineering student persistence, and student autonomy. Her research has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Lord is a fellow of the ASEE and IEEE and is active in the engineering education community including serving as General Co-Chair of the 2006 Frontiers in Education (FIE) Conference, on the FIE Steering Committee, and as President of the IEEE Education Society for 2009-2010. She is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Education. She and her coauthors were awarded the 2011 Wickenden Award for the best paper in the Journal of Engineering Education and the 2011 and 2015 Best Paper Awards for the IEEE Transactions on Education. In Spring 2012, Dr. Lord spent a sabbatical at Southeast University in Nanjing, China teaching and doing research. Dr. Lord received the IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award.

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Catherine Mobley Clemson University

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Catherine Mobley, Ph.D., is a Professor of Sociology at Clemson University. She has over 30 years experience in project and program evaluation and has worked for a variety of consulting firms, non-profit agencies, and government organizations, including the Rand Corporation, the American Association of Retired Persons, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Since 2004, she been a member of the NSF-funded MIDFIELD research project on engineering education; she has served as a Co-PI on three research projects, including one on transfer students and another on student veterans in engineering.

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Joyce B. Main Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Joyce B. Main is Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She holds a Ph.D. in Learning, Teaching, and Social Policy from Cornell University, and an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Michelle M. Camacho University of San Diego

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Michelle M. Camacho is Professor of Sociology at the University of San Diego. She began her career at UC San Diego in 1999 as a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for US Mexican Studies, and later as a UC Faculty Fellow in Ethnic Studies. In 2015-16, she returned to UC San Diego as a fellow of the American Council on Education. As a bilingual/bicultural Latina, Camacho has 30 years of experience in higher education advocating for underrepresented groups and first generation college students. For over a decade, her work on institutional transformation has received funding from the National Science Foundation to examine and address inequities in higher education, specifically as they relate to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). She served the NSF ADVANCE grant initiatives as a co-Principal Investigator, working to improve practices to recruit and retain women of color in STEM and enhance institutional climate at USD. Other current research grants support pathways for veterans in higher education, and the NSF program called, “Revolutionizing Engineering & Computer Science Departments.” Her co-authored books include The Borderlands of Education (with Susan Lord), Mentoring Faculty of Color, and Beginning a Career in Academia: A Guide for Graduate Students of Color. She is past-Vice President (2017) of the Pacific Sociological Association, and an appointed consultant to the American Sociological Association’s Departmental Resources Group. Fluent in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, her research uses theories from interdisciplinary sources including cultural studies, critical race, gender and feminist theories. Central to her work are questions of culture, power and inequality. She is affiliated faculty with the Department of Ethnic Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Latin American Studies.

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Abstract

The Navy and Marine Corps are both branches of the US Department of the Navy. However, they have different missions in support of national defense and thus sailors and Marines have very different job responsibilities during their service. This study investigates how these different roles impact their future choice to major in engineering. We explore three research questions. 1) What reasons did student veterans in engineering give for first enlisting in the Navy or Marine Corps? 2) What factors influence their job placement in the service? 3) How does military service influence their decision to later major in engineering? We find that patriotism and a desire to attain a sense of direction influences these veterans to join both services but that Marine Corps veterans are more likely to report doing so out of a sense of pride and a desire to engage in combat than Navy veterans. Placement in military jobs is determined by the needs of the force and the capabilities of the sailor or Marine. Those who score well on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) have more choices and, in the Navy, are encouraged to join the nuclear program. Marines are more likely to be assigned where they are needed. Participants cited their technical training and a desire to improve processes and products as key reasons for pursuing engineering. Veterans in the nuclear Navy indicated that they were also encouraged through their training to seek higher education in engineering whereas Marine Corps veterans received little encouragement to seek higher education outside of the Marine Corps. Colleges of engineering can use this information to tailor their recruiting of former service members by connecting the dots from training to engineering education for those with technical training. The services are likewise encouraged to connect the dots between training and future education explicitly. For those without technical training, university recruiting messages could emphasize the assets of discipline and hard work gained in the military as well as the opportunity to improve processes they may have encountered in their service.

Brawner, C. E., & Lord, S. M., & Mobley, C., & Main, J. B., & Camacho, M. M. (2019, June), How the "Needs of the Force" Impact Navy and Marine Corps Veterans' Decision to Major in Engineering Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32899

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