June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
This Complete Research paper will describe how first-semester first-year female engineering students perceive the engineering profession and associated career opportunities, as well as their confidence in their choice of both engineering as a career and their specific major. This study examines quantitative data gathered over a decade from nine cohorts of female first-year engineering students from a large Midwestern research institution. At this particular institution, all engineering students begin in First-Year Engineering (FYE) and typically transition into their specific engineering discipline at the start of their sophomore year. Students enrolled in a Women in Engineering seminar were surveyed in the first and last weeks of their first semester in FYE. The assessment instruments were designed to measure their perceptions of the engineering profession and career opportunities and their self-confidence in selecting engineering as a career and their specific major.
Results indicate that female students gain a better understanding of the engineering profession and the various career options for engineering majors during their first semester of college. At the conclusion of their first semester, they are also more confident in their selection of engineering as both a career and a major. However, their excitement towards future engineering classes has significantly diminished. Also noteworthy is that over the past decade, understanding of the profession and awareness of career options for engineers has steadily increased implying that students are now entering the university better informed about the field of engineering.
This paper will explore first-year female students’ perception of and self-confidence with respect to engineering. Results and conclusions from this study may be used to improve the support and resources provided to first-year women in engineering with the ultimate goal of increased persistence.
Zurn-Birkhimer, S., & Fredette, E. (2019, June), Multi-year Cross-sectional Study of Perceptions of and Self-confidence in Engineering as a Major and Profession of Female First-semester First-year Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/33129
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