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PathTech LIFE: Overview of Findings from a National Survey of Technician Education Students

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Manufacturing Division Technical Session 5

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Paper Authors


Will Tyson University of South Florida

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Will Tyson is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of South Florida. Dr. Tyson’s research examines STEM educational and career pathways with a focus on student- and institutional-level influences on high school and college science and math course taking and STEM degree attainment. Dr. Tyson was the Principal Investigator of the NSF-funded project “Successful Academic and Employment Pathways in Advanced Technologies” or PathTech (4 years, $1.2 million). PathTech was a collaboration with Tampa Bay area high schools, community colleges, and local technology and manufacturing industry to better understand pathways from into engineering technology AS degree and certificate programs and back into the local workforce. Dr. Tyson is also the Principal Investigator of the follow-up study PathTech LIFE: Constructing a National Survey of Engineering Technology Students through Regional and Statewide Testing (3 years, $778,031), a national survey of community college students completing coursework, certificates, and degrees in engineering technology and related technology fields. Dr. Tyson is co-editor of Becoming an Engineer in Public Universities: Pathways for Women and Minorities (2010) based on NSF-funded research in colleges of engineering in Florida universities. Dr. Tyson has published on secondary and post-secondary pathways to engineering and other STEM bachelor’s degrees as well as faculty climate in STEM programs.

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Marilyn Barger National Science Foundation ATE Centers

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Dr. Marilyn Barger is the Principal Investigator and Executive Director of FLATE, the Florida Regional Center of Excellence for Advanced Technological Education, funded by the National Science Foundation and housed at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida since 2004. FLATE serves the state of Florida as its region and is involved in outreach and recruitment of students into technical career pathways; has produced award winning curriculum design and reform for secondary and post-secondary Career and Technical Education programs; and provides a variety of professional development for SETM and technology secondary and post-secondary educators focused on advanced technologies. She earned a B.A. in Chemistry at Agnes Scott College and both a B.S. in Engineering Science and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (Environmental) from the University of South Florida, where her research focused on membrane separation science and technologies for water purification. She has over 20 years of experience in developing curricula for engineering and engineering technology for elementary, middle, high school, and post secondary institutions, including colleges of engineering. Dr. Barger has presented at many national conferences including American Association of Engineering Education, National Career Pathways Network, High Impact Technology Exchange, ACTE Vision, League of Innovation and others. Dr. Barger serves on several national panels and advisory boards for technical programs, curriculum and workforce initiatives, including the National Association of Manufacturers Educators‘Council. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education, a member of Tau Beta Pi and Epsilon Pi Tau honor societies. She is a charter member of both the National Academy and the University of South Florida‘s Academy of Inventors. Dr. Barger holds a licensed patent and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Florida.

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Lakshmi Jayaram University of South Florida

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is a Research Associate at the University of South Florida and Co-Principal Investigator of PathTech LISTEN: Mixed Methods Longitudinal Investigations of Students in Technician Education (NSF #1801163, 2018-21). Dr. Jayaram has 25 years of experience in education, as a professor, researcher, evaluator, curriculum developer, and program analyst. Dr. Jayaram's research interests include studying the experiences of under-represented and non-traditional groups in STEM fields.

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PathTech LIFE is a national survey of 3,216 students from 96 two-year colleges enrolled in advanced technology programs nationwide. The survey includes questions about Learning, Interests, Family, and Employment (LIFE) and data was collected about students’ sociodemographic background, enrollment status, program satisfaction, campus resource knowledge and utilization, motivation to enroll, career and educational aspirations, employment status, and school-work-life balance issues. The proposed conference presentation will provide an overview of national findings as well as particular focus on under-represented groups in the technician workforce such as women, racial-ethnic minorities, and students with disabilities. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of ways to apply these research findings to improve student recruitment, retention, and completion in advanced technology programs at two-year colleges.

Tyson, W., & Barger, M., & Jayaram, L. (2019, June), PathTech LIFE: Overview of Findings from a National Survey of Technician Education Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33160

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