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Impact of Social and Programmatic Experiences on Students’ Interest in Pursuing a Graduate Degree in a Computing Field

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Student Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Student

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37288

Download Count

33

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Paper Authors

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Maral Kargarmoakhar Florida International University

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Maral Kargarmoakhar was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. She got her bachelors degree in computer engineering from Tehran University. She pursued her master's degree from Florida International University (FIU) in computer science. Currently, she is working on her Ph.D. program at FIU.

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Stephanie Jill Lunn Florida International University

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Stephanie Lunn is presently a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Computing and Information Sciences at Florida International University (FIU). Her research interests span the fields of Computing and Engineering Education, Human Computer Interaction, Data Science, and Machine Learning. Previously, Stephanie received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Neuroscience from the University of Miami, in addition to B.S. and M.S. degrees in Computer Science from FIU.

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Monique S. Ross Florida International University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6320-636X

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Monique Ross, Assistant Professor in the School of Computing and Information Sciences and STEM Transformation Institute at Florida International University, designs research focused on broadening participation in computer science through the exploration of: 1) race, gender, and disciplinary identity; 2) discipline-based education research (with a focus on computer science and computer engineering courses) in order to inform pedagogical practices that garner interest and retain women (specifically Black and Hispanic women) in computer-related engineering fields. 

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Zahra Hazari Florida International University

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Zahra Hazari is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning and the STEM Transformation Institute as well as an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Physics. Dr. Hazari’s research focuses on reforming physics learning environments in an effort to improve critical educational outcomes for underrepresented groups in physics, especially women. In particular, her work centers on physics identity development, a framework which has proven insightful for explaining gender differences in persistence and is providing critical insight into understanding how to inspire and engage students in physics-related studies.

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Mark A. Weiss Florida International University

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Mark Allen Weiss is an Distinguished University Professor, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Engineering and Computing, and Associate Director in the School of Computing and Information Sciences at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami Florida.

He joined FIU after receiving his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Princeton University in 1987. His interests include data structures, algorithms, and education, and he is most well-known for his Data Structures textbooks, which have been used at hundreds of universities worldwide. From 1997-2004 he served as a member of the Advanced Placement Computer Science Development Committee, chairing the committee from 2000-2004. Dr. Weiss is an IEEE Fellow, AAAS Fellow, and ACM Distinguished Educator. He is the recipient of the 2015 SIGCSE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education, 2017 IEEE Computer Society Taylor Booth Education Award, and 2018 IEEE Education Society William Sayle Achievement in Education Award.

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Michael Georgiopoulos University of Central Florida

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Michael Georgiopoulos received the Diploma in EE from the National
Technical University in Athens, his MS degree and Ph.D. degree in EE
from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, in 1981, 1983 and
1986, respectively. He is currently a Professor in the Department of EECS
at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL. From September 2011 to June 2012 he served as the Interim Assistant Vice President of Research at the Office of Research and Commercialization. Since July 2012 he is serving as the Interim Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

His research interests lie in the areas of Machine Learning and applications with
special emphasis on neural network and neuro-evolutionary algorithms,
and their applications. He has published more than 60 journal papers
and more than 170 conference papers in a variety of conference and
journal venues. He has been an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks from 2002 to 2006, and an Associate Editor of the Neural Networks journal from 2006 to 2012. He has served as the Technical Co-Chair of the IJCNN 2011.

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Ken Christensen P.E. University of South Florida

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Ken Christensen (christen@csee.usf.edu) is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of South Florida. Ken received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1991. His primary research interest is in green networks. Ken is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Florida, a senior member of IEEE, and a member of ACM and ASEE.

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Tiana Solis Florida International University

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Tiana Solis recently transitioned from her previous position as the Associate Director of Academic Advising to be a full-time instructor at the School of Computing and Information Sciences, Florida International University. Prior to moving to Hawaii in 2007, she was an instructor and academic advisor for the School from 1994 to 2007. Ms. Solis taught different undergraduate courses and mentored several FIU students participating in the Florida-Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (FGLSAMP). She is a past adviser of the Women in Computer Science (WICS) student club. From 2008 to 2010, Ms. Solis was a programmer analyst at the Department of the Attorney General in Hawaii, a member of the team revamping the State Juvenile Justice Information System.
Her research and instructional Interests include software development, computer ethics and student success and development.

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Abstract

There is a substantial shortage of students pursuing graduate degrees in computing fields in the United States [1], and when examining participation rates of minoritized populations the disparity is even greater [2]. In order to attract more domestic students to graduate schools in computing it is important to understand what factors encourage or discourage them from participation. Literature suggests that students’ family, friends, school, and society play an important role in students' educational paths, and their own self-perceptions. Using social impact theory as the guiding lens, we explore support from family and friends, as well as social and program-related experiences, in this study to assess their impact on undergraduate students' reported interest in pursuing a graduate degree. The research questions guiding this study are 1) Which social and programmatic experiences have the greatest impact on students’ interest in pursuing a graduate degree in computing?; and 2) How does a student’s gender/racial/ethnic background and their participation in social and programmatic experiences impact students’ interest in pursuing graduate degrees? We answered these research questions using data from a survey conducted at three large public universities in Florida which targeted students in computing fields (n=740). Data was analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis and Wilcoxon rank sum tests, as well as logistic regression. The findings revealed that “presenting work to other students,” and “research experience” are two experiences which lead to an increase of students’ interest in pursuing a graduate degree in a computing field. This study also revealed the importance of having same gender friends and reported interest in pursuing a graduate degree in a computing field. These findings provide insight into which experiences may impact domestic students' interest in pursuing graduate programs in computing fields. The results of this study are beneficial for universities to consider for encouraging more students to pursue a future in academia or in the workforce after obtaining a graduate degree.

Kargarmoakhar, M., & Lunn, S. J., & Ross, M. S., & Hazari, Z., & Weiss, M. A., & Georgiopoulos, M., & Christensen, K., & Solis, T. (2021, July), Impact of Social and Programmatic Experiences on Students’ Interest in Pursuing a Graduate Degree in a Computing Field Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37288

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