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Parent and Family Influence on First-year Engineering Major Choice

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Major Choice

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Michelle E. Jarvie-Eggart Michigan Technological University

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Dr. Jarvie-Eggart is a registered professional engineer with over a decade of experience as an environmental engineer. She lectures in the Engineering Fundamentals department at Michigan Technological University. Her research interests include online learning, active and collaborative learning, sustainability and diversity in engineering.

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Amanda Marie Singer Michigan Technological University

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Amanda Singer is an Environmental Engineering master's candidate at Michigan Technological University. She graduated in 2019 from Michigan Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering. Her current research focuses on perceptions of first year engineering students on the engineering disciplines as well as sustainable landfill design.

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Jason Mathews Michigan Technological University

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AbstractThe choice of a career or profession is a developmental process [1] that is influenced by a diverse set of factors including familial influences [1-12]. Parental career path [5] and perception of other career fields [6] have been shown to influence student career choice. The research presented in this paper focuses on the links between parental and other family members’ engineering or STEM occupations and engineering major choice, as well as whether this effect has any differences by gender.

In this study, 158 first year engineering students from a public midwestern technical university were surveyed to determine major, deciding factors in major selection, as well as if any family member or mentor had a career in an engineering discipline or STEM fields. This research determined that 63% of the students surveyed had at least one family member that had a career in engineering. Differences in the parental careers of male and female students will also be discussed in the paper.

Jarvie-Eggart, M. E., & Singer, A. M., & Mathews, J. (2020, June), Parent and Family Influence on First-year Engineering Major Choice Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35035

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