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"It Kind Of Chose Me": Agency And Influence In Women's Decision To Major In Engineering

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Effective Methods for Recruiting Women to Engineering

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.2.1 - 15.2.18

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Paper Authors


Eleanor M. Jaffee Smith College

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Eleanor M. Jaffee is a Research Associate with the Liberative Pedagogies Project at Smith College, and a doctoral candidate in Social Welfare at the University at Albany.

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Donna Riley Smith College

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Donna Riley is Associate Professor of Engineering at Smith College.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

: Agency and Influence in s to Major in Engineering Introduction

Much of the research regarding undergraduate women in engineering approaches the issue in s of major and career. Originally this work was driven by alarming data suggesting that women leave engineering at higher rates than men.1,2 More recent studies suggest that women and men leave engineering at equal rates during the college years.3,4

Factors influencing persistence and attrition are often similar for men and women, but there are some important differences. For example, Atman5 reported data from the Academic Pathways Study in which seniors identified motivating factors in their decisions to study engineering. Intrinsic psychological factors (liking engineering as a subject or field) and intrinsic behavioral factors (liking what engineers do, e.g., play with equipment) were most important for women and men alike, followed by the opportunity to work for the social good, financial rewards, mentor influence, and parental influence. However, a significantly higher proportion of men identified intrinsic behavioral motivation (p

Jaffee, E. M., & Riley, D. (2010, June), "It Kind Of Chose Me": Agency And Influence In Women's Decision To Major In Engineering Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky.

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