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Minority Student Enrollment In Environmental Engineering, General Student Perceptions Of The Discipline, And Strategies To Attract And Retain A More Diverse Student Body

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Curricula III

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1073.1 - 12.1073.10



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Paper Authors

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Michelle Jarvie Michigan Technological University

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Kurt Paterson Michigan Technological University Orcid 16x16

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

Minority Student Enrollment in Environmental Engineering, General Student Perceptions of the Discipline, and Strategies to Attract and Retain a More Diverse Student Body Abstract

Environmental engineering, as a discipline has celebrated success at incorporating women into its ranks among undergraduate students. It appears that the discipline may also share a similar success at attracting Native American and Hispanic students. Data presented at the 2006 ASEE conference indicates that, across the nation, the discipline attracts more Native American and Hispanic students than engineering overall1. However, this paper takes a closer look at this data, which indicates that just a few schools across the nation are enrolling minority students within environmental engineering.

Perceptions of a discipline can alter career choice among first year students. This paper presents studies regarding the perceptions of the discipline among k-12 and first year students, and highlights the need for research regarding the perceptions of the discipline among minorities and factors influencing career choice of minority students. Finally, some suggestions are made for strategies which may increase the attraction and retention of minority students to the discipline.

Diversity within Environmental Engineering

Data from the American Society for engineering Education (ASEE) and the Engineering Workforce Commission (EWC) regarding enrollment and degrees awarded to women and minorities by engineering discipline for 2003 was compared and complied for a paper at the 2006 ASEE conference1. Figure 1 shows the percentage of bachelors degrees awarded to women and minorities for environmental engineering and engineering overall. It can be seen that the discipline has Figure 1: B.S. Engineering Degrees Awarded in 2003 1 successfully integrated women into its ranks, graduating a larger 50 percentage of women 45 44 (44%) than engineering B.S. Engineering Overall overall (20%). In fact, 40 B.S. Environmental Engineering environmental 35 engineering graduated 30 more female engineers Perccent

25 20 than any other discipline 20 in 20052. Environmental 15 engineering has emerged 8.9 as a leader among the 10 6.2 4.6 disciplines of 5 2.4 2 0.5 engineering that attract 0 Women African American Native American Hispanic women at higher Group percentages than engineering overall. The

Jarvie, M., & Paterson, K. (2007, June), Minority Student Enrollment In Environmental Engineering, General Student Perceptions Of The Discipline, And Strategies To Attract And Retain A More Diverse Student Body Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1682

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