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Migrator Stories in an Aerospace Engineering Program

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Personnel Development & Retention

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Devayan D. Bir Loras College Orcid 16x16

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Prior to teaching at Loras College, Devayan pursued his doctorate in Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University and has worked as a Computer Aided Analyst in India. He earned his B.E. in Aeronautical Engineering, and has been passionate about Aerospace Engineering all his life. Hobbies include playing the guitar, soccer, and photography.
Research interests include innovative pedagogies (Active, Flipped, and Online instruction) and applied numerical methods. Devayan has published peer reviewed papers, presented at national conferences, as well as co-authored articles with undergraduate students while mentoring them in research. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and most recently is collaborating with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC).

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Aerospace engineering (AE) enrollment and graduation trends over the past decade have not kept up with those of cumulative engineering even though recent reports predict AE industry expansion and growth. The purpose of this study is to understand why students migrate out of AE to other STEM majors. Students from a large Midwestern university in the U.S. narrated their institutional experiences during their time in the major and their reasons leading to the decision to migrate to other STEM majors. The qualitative data along with schematic descriptions from the interviews were studied through the lens of Tinto’s model of institutional departure. Qualitative analysis reveal that students migrate to other engineering majors because their interest in AE dwindled primarily because it constrained their career options or that a getting a job in AE industry is very tough due to the low number of jobs available. The latter sentiment, while untrue, is being fueled by the misrepresentation of the AE industry and efforts to counter this must be taken to keep students motivated to pursue a career in AE.

Bir, D. D. (2021, July), Migrator Stories in an Aerospace Engineering Program Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37506

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