Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Women in Engineering
Peer mentoring has been shown to be an effective means of improving the retention of women in engineering, but few studies have explored the impact of participation on the development of the leadership abilities of undergraduate women. Transitioning to a leadership mentality as a peer mentor has the potential to foster self-efficacy in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and socially stable academic relationships that may be replicated in post-graduate study and/or the workplace. This one-year study explored the experiences of junior and senior female students in STEM majors (N=11) serving as mentors to first-year students in the Women in Science and Engineering Honors Program (WISE) at Stony Brook University, a large research university in the Northeast U.S. The participants had also experienced mentoring by upperclassmen during their first year at the university. The conceptual framework incorporated factors related to self-efficacy and growth, communal agency, and leadership development. Qualitative data were collected through surveys and interviews with juniors and seniors. Many women expressed how rewarded they felt by their experiences with the first-year students, and they recognized the impacts of their work on the academic lives of their mentees. They viewed their mentees as more proficient in time management, work-life balance, and establishing effective social support structures. The mentors reported feeling confident in their leadership abilities and recognized the importance of supporting women as underrepresented participants in their university-based STEM community. They felt a personal responsibility to share their insights as academically and socially integrated upperclassmen. Findings suggest that mentoring programs should leverage the skills and achievements of peer mentors while enhancing their leadership transitions through the development of the self-determination of their mentees.
Sherwood, K. E., & Kelly, A. M., & Bugallo, M. (2018, June), Peer Mentoring of Undergraduate Women in Engineering as a Mechanism for Leadership Development Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30864
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