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Perceptions About Women in Science and Engineering History

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Conference

2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Potpouri

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

25.1033.1 - 25.1033.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/21790

Download Count

25

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Paper Authors

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Heidi Reeder Boise State University

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Heidi Reeder is a social scientist whose research interests include gender, communication, and pedagogy. Her articles have been published in top communication and social psychology journals including Sex Roles, Communication Monographs, and The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. She is also as an online contributor to Psychology Today. She earned a B.S. in Communication from the University of Oregon, an M.A. in Communication from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Communication from Arizona State University. In 2007, she was selected as the Carnegie Foundation’s Idaho Professor of the Year.

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Patricia A. Pyke Boise State University

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Patricia A. Pyke is Director of the STEM Station, a university-level science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research and education initiative at Boise State University. She earned a B.S.E. degree in mechanical engineering from Duke University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Lynn Lubamersky Boise State University

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Lynn Lubamersky studied history at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Indiana University, where she received her Ph.D. She is Associate Professor in the History Department at Boise State Unviersity and teaches courses in women’s studies, the history of the family, and the history of early modern Europe. She has published several articles on noblewomen’s access to political power. She has had several articles published in Germany, Russia, and in North America.

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Seung Youn Chyung Boise State University

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Seung Youn (Yonnie) Chyung is a professor in the Department of Instructional and Performance Technology in the College of Engineering at Boise State University. She received her doctorate of education degree in instructional technology from Texas Tech University and teaches graduate-level courses on evaluation methodology.

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Cheryl B. Schrader Missouri University of Science and Technology

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Cheryl B. Schrader became Chancellor of the Missouri University of Science and Technology, formerly the University of Missouri, Rolla, in 2012. She most recently served as Associate Vice President for Strategic Research Initiatives and as Dean of the College of Engineering at Boise State University. Schrader has an extensive record of publications and sponsored research in the systems, control, and STEM education fields. She received the 2005 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Mentoring from the White House for an enduring, strong, and personal commitment to underrepresented engineering students and faculty, and the 2008 Hewlett-Packard/Harriett B. Rigas Award from the IEEE Education Society in recognition of her contribution to the profession. Schrader earned her B.S. in electrical engineering from Valparaiso University, and her M.S. in electrical engineering and Ph.D. in systems and control from the University of Notre Dame.

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Abstract

Perceptions about Women in Science and Engineering HistoryTo encourage gender equity in science and engineering, numerous national reports recommendpromoting women’s achievements and role models in science, technology, engineering andmathematics (STEM). Although many studies have examined perceptions about women’sabilities and interests in STEM, few studies have examined the broader cultural context ofsocietal perceptions about women’s contributions to scientific and technological advancesthroughout history.This study investigated college students’ perceptions about the contributions of women to thehistory of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The research tool was a surveythat included three questions employing a written method. Participants were asked to writedown as many famous or historically important scientists, inventors or engineers they could thinkof. After one minute, they were instructed to write down as many famous or historicallyimportant women scientists, inventors or engineers they could think of. The third questionsolicited open-ended responses to gain qualitative data regarding respondents’ base knowledgeof women’s contributions to society, science and technology. The goal of a survey was to acquirespecific information from college students by polling a random sample of students at multipleuniversities in order to gain an understanding of the attitudes, beliefs, or knowledge of this groupregarding women’s contributions in science and technology. (N=471 and we intend to doublethe number of participants by the time of final publication.)Preliminary analysis shows most respondents could name only male scientists, inventors andengineers and had little or no awareness of women in these roles throughout history and inmodern times. For the third question, students generally responded that women changed theworld by populating it, serving men’s needs, producing male children who became great leaders,and affecting social and civil rights. Several respondents said that although they did not know ofwomen scientists or engineers, they were certain that women were contributing to thoseendeavors but were not being recognized. This implies these students might be receptive tohaving their personal belief confirmed.This paper will analyze and discuss the results in detail and examine correlations with age,gender, field of study, institution and other factors. A discussion of the survey results will alsoinclude recommendations about how educators can do a better job of communicating to theirstudents the stories of women in science and engineering through the ages.

Reeder, H., & Pyke, P. A., & Lubamersky, L., & Chyung, S. Y., & Schrader, C. B. (2012, June), Perceptions About Women in Science and Engineering History Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/21790

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