June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
24.890.1 - 24.890.19
Maybe I am interested in Engineering, does that matter?Interest is often cited as one of, if not the key, reason for why students chose a career or collegemajor, including engineering. However, research has also shown that interest is not necessarilythe primary reason for career choice within underrepresented groups. The purpose of this paperis to present qualitative results on how interest relates to engineering as a career choice for agroup historically underrepresented in engineering. Using the Social Cognitive Career Theory asa frame work, high school and college engineering students from Appalachia were interviewedconcerning career choices to answer the research question of: How do high school and collegestudents from Appalachia compare and contrast with respect to reasons for choosing anengineering career?To answer the research questions, a total of 36 junior and senior high school students frommultiple counties in Appalachia Virginia and 12 college engineering students from the samecounties were interviewed. The interview protocol was developed using SCCT as the frameworkand included questions concerning interest, goals, supports/barriers, parental jobs and education,and expectations of their future. The interview protocol was expert reviewed and piloted prior todeployment. Results show that critical incidences were the primary reason for career choiceswith interests secondary for all high school participants in the study. However, interest was theprimary reason for planning on an engineering career by the high school participants. Likewise,interest was the primary reason for choosing engineering given by the college engineeringparticipants. Other comparisons were made relative to desire to remain local, parental education,and being a continuing generation Appalachian (i.e. parents as well as student from the region).Conclusions include the importance of exposure to engineering as a career choice and/orengineers to enable students the opportunity to develop an interest. Additional mplications of theresults and recommendation for future work are also presented.
Carrico, C., & Matusovich, H. M., & Paretti, M. C., & Boynton, M. A. (2014, June), Maybe I am Interested in Engineering, Does that Matter? Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/22823
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