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Impact of Self-efficacy on Interest and Choice in Engineering Study and Careers for Undergraduate Women Engineering Students

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Undergraduate Recruitment

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.718.1 - 25.718.10



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Paper Authors


Patricia R. Backer San Jose State University

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Patricia Backer has been a faculty member at SJSU since 1990 and now serves as Director of General Engineering. In her current role, Backer is involved in developing and assessing outreach programs to increase the number of women and underrepresented students in engineering.

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Rona Tamiko Halualani San Jose State University

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Rona T. Halualani is a Full Professor of diversity and intercultural communication in the Department of Communication Studies as San Jose State University.

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Impact of Self-Efficacy on Interest and Choice in Engineering Study and Careers for Undergraduate Women Engineering Students Self-efficacy refers to the belief in a persons’ ability to perform a specific task. Starting inmiddle school, girls tend to underestimate their abilities in STEM. This confidence gap amonggirls persists through high school into college. This gap is presumed to be partially responsiblefor the gender gap in engineering and other STEM fields (e.g. computer science, physics). In2006, women only earned 19.5% of the undergraduate BS engineering degrees in the U.S.This paper investigates the motivations of women students at XXX to pursue engineeringcareers, including their level of self-efficacy and sources of academic support, and the culturalinfluences that shape their interest and choice in engineering disciplines and careers for women.Using an adapted version of the Engineering Student Annual Survey, developed by the NSF-funded Assessing Women and Men in Engineering, the researchers explored the personal andcultural motivations of 200 female students at XXX. With a highly diverse student population inthe College of Engineering and across the university, the researchers have been able to delve intothe relationship between cultural expectations and STEM aspirations. The survey results haveprovided valuable insight for designing educational campaigns or student support programsdirected at specific underrepresented racial and ethnic groups of females aspiring for STEMfields. 

Backer, P. R., & Halualani, R. T. (2012, June), Impact of Self-efficacy on Interest and Choice in Engineering Study and Careers for Undergraduate Women Engineering Students Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21475

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