Asee peer logo

Internship Prevalence and Factors Related to Participation

Download Paper |

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

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/37374

Download Count

55

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Sara A. Atwood Elizabethtown College

visit author page

Dr. Sara A. Atwood is the Dean of the School of Engineering, Math, and Computer Science and Associate Professor of Engineering at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. She holds a BA and MS in Engineering Sciences from Dartmouth College, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Atwood’s research interests are in engineering and the liberal arts, first-generation and low-income students, internship experiences, and alternative assessment techniques including mastery-based course structures.

visit author page

biography

Shannon Katherine Gilmartin Stanford University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-8925-3271

visit author page

Shannon K. Gilmartin, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Scholar at the Stanford VMware Women's Leadership Innovation Lab and Adjunct Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. Her expertise is in education and workforce development in science and engineering fields. She has particular interest in access to and equity in engineering education and practice. She studies the experiences of underrepresented students in engineering classrooms, the transition to first jobs and the “early career” for women in engineering, and the trajectories to senior leadership in technology settings.

visit author page

author page

Anna M. Mostoller Elizabethtown College

biography

Helen L. Chen Stanford University

visit author page

Helen L. Chen is a research scientist in the Designing Education Lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. She has been involved in several major engineering education initiatives including the NSF-funded Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education, National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), as well as the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education. Helen holds an undergraduate degree in communication from UCLA and a PhD in communication with a minor in psychology from Stanford University. Her current research and scholarship focus on engineering and entrepreneurship education; the pedagogy of portfolios and reflective practice in higher education; and redesigning how learning is recorded and recognized in traditional transcripts and academic credentials.

visit author page

biography

Sheri Sheppard Stanford University

visit author page

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.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

The value of internship experiences for engineering students is widely discussed in the literature. With this analysis, we seek to contribute knowledge addressing 1) the prevalence of internship experiences amongst engineering students drawn from a large, multi-institutional, nationally-representative sample, 2) if the likelihood of having an engineering internship experiences is equitable amongst various student identities, and 3) what additional factors influence the likelihood of a student having an internship experience, such as field of study and institution type.

Data were drawn from a 2015 multi-institutional nationally representative survey of engineering juniors and seniors, excluding one institution with a mandatory co-op program (n = 5530 from 26 institutions). A z-test was used to analyze differences in internship participation rates related to academic cohort (e.g., junior, senior), gender, underrepresented minority (URM) status, first-generation, and low-income status, as well as a subset of identities at the intersection of these groups (gender + URM; first-generation + low-income). A logistic regression model further examined factors such as GPA, engineering task self-efficacy, field of engineering, and institution type.

We found that amongst the students in our dataset, 64.7% of the seniors had “worked in a professional engineering environment as an intern/co-op” (41.1% of juniors, 64.7% of 5th years). Significantly less likely (p<0.05) to have internship experiences were men compared to women (52.9% vs 58.3%), URM students compared to their majority counterparts (41.5% vs 56.8%), first-generation students compared to continuing (47.6% vs 57.2%), and low-income students compared to higher-income peers (46.2% vs 57.4%). Examined intersectional identities significantly less likely to have an internship were URM men (37.5%) and first-generation low-income students (42.0%), while non-URM women (60.5%) and continuing high-income students (58.2%) were most likely to report having an internship.

Results from the logistic regression model indicate that significant factors are cohort (junior vs senior), GPA, engineering task self-efficacy, and engineering field. When controlling for the other variables in the model, gender, URM, first-generation, and low-income status remain significant; however, the interaction effect between these identities is not significant in the full model. Institution type did not have much impact. Having a research experience was not a significant factor in predicting the likelihood of having an internship experience, although studying abroad significantly increased the odds. Amongst engineering fields, industrial and civil engineering students were the most likely to have an internship, while aerospace and materials engineering students were the least likely. Full results and discussion will be presented in the paper.

This analysis provides valuable information for a variety of stakeholders. For engineering programs, it is useful to benchmark historic students’ rates of internship participation against a multi-institutional, nationally representative dataset. For academic advisors and career services professionals, it is useful to understand in which fields an internship is common to be competitive on the job market, and which fields have fewer opportunities or prioritize research experiences. Ultimately, for those in higher education and workforce development it is vital to understand which identities, and intersectional identities, are accessing internship experiences as a pathway into the engineering workforce.

Atwood, S. A., & Gilmartin, S. K., & Mostoller, A. M., & Chen, H. L., & Sheppard, S. (2021, July), Internship Prevalence and Factors Related to Participation Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://strategy.asee.org/37374

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015