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Predictors of Engineering Doctoral Students' Future Career Sector

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

ERM Technical Session 15: Perspectives on Engineering Careers and Workplaces

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/1-2--33185

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33185

Download Count

47

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Paper Authors

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Maya Denton University of Texas, Austin

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Maya Denton is a STEM Education doctoral student and Graduate Research Assistant in the Center for Engineering Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University. Prior to attending UT, she worked as a chemical engineer for an industrial gas company.

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Nathan Hyungsok Choe University of Texas, Austin Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-5662-0853

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Dr. Nathan (Hyungsok) Choe obtained his PhD in STEM education at UT Austin. His research focuses on the development of engineering identity in graduate school and underrepresented group. Nathan holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from Illinois Tech. He also worked as an engineer at LG electronics mobile communication company.

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Kevin A. Nguyen University of Texas, Austin Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2445-7529

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Kevin A. Nguyen is a Ph.D candidate in the STEM Education program at University of Texas at Austin. He has worked on NSF grant projects related to engineering students' resistance to active learning and how funding impacts STEM graduate students. His own dissertation work examines learning, marginalization, and environmental citizen scientists. He has a B.S. and M.Eng in Environmental Engineering both from Texas Tech University.

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Maura J. Borrego University of Texas, Austin

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Maura Borrego is Director of the Center for Engineering Education and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and STEM Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She previously served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation, on the board of the American Society for Engineering Education, and as an associate dean and director of interdisciplinary graduate programs. Her research awards include U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), a National Science Foundation CAREER award, and two outstanding publication awards from the American Educational Research Association for her journal articles. Dr. Borrego is Deputy Editor for Journal of Engineering Education. All of Dr. Borrego’s degrees are in Materials Science and Engineering. Her M.S. and Ph.D. are from Stanford University, and her B.S. is from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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David B. Knight Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4576-2490

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David B. Knight is an Associate Professor and Assistant Department Head of Graduate Programs in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He is also Director of International Engagement in Engineering Education, directs the Rising Sophomore Abroad Program, and is affiliate faculty with the Higher Education Program. His research tends to be at the macro-scale, focused on a systems-level perspective of how engineering education can become more effective, efficient, and inclusive, tends to be data-driven by leveraging large-scale institutional, state, or national data sets, and considers the intersection between policy and organizational contexts. He has B.S., M.S., and M.U.E.P. degrees from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Pennsylvania State University.

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Whitney Wall Bortz Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7666-1719

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Dr. Bortz began her career in education as a middle school mathematics teacher. Since then, she has worked on projects addressing assessment at multiple levels, teacher education, the integration of computational thinking into science instruction, and funding models for graduate students in STEM fields. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in both engineering education and computer science at Virginia Tech. She holds a doctorate in education from Queen's University Belfast, and her research interests include mathematics education, assessment, computational thinking, STEM education, and access to STEM opportunities for underrepresented groups.

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Timothy Kinoshita Virginia Tech

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Timothy Kinoshita is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. His research interests include graduate education, curriculum development, faculty development, global engineering education, and education policy.

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Abstract

Our research paper investigates the relationship between engineering graduate student funding, demographics, initial employment, and future career sector. Although a growing number of students have earned engineering doctorates over the past decade and over 10,000 students received engineering doctorates in 2015 (National Science Board, 2018a), there exists a gap in the literature regarding this student population. Unlike other STEM fields, where a doctoral degree serves as a key step in pursuing an academic path, engineering PhDs have a greater split between industry and academia, which we categorized as Industry and Education for future career sector. Students on Teaching Assistantships or Research Assistantships gain different experiences that may help them in different employment sectors. We categorized the five primary funding mechanisms as Research Assistantship, Fellowship, Teaching Assistantship, Personal Earnings, and Other. Initial employment is categorized as Unemployed, Temporary, and Employed. Our research questions are: 1) What are the 3-year and 6-year career sector breakdowns for engineering doctoral recipients by gender and race? 2) How, if at all, do graduate student funding mechanism, gender and race, and initial employment predict future career sector 6 years after receiving an engineering doctorate? Using NSF’s Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR) and Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) data, we analyzed relationships between engineering doctoral recipient primary funding mechanism and career sector at a timepoint of 5 to 6 years after receiving their degree. We matched populations between the two surveys and the resulting dataset consisted of 5682 engineering doctoral recipients who received their degrees between 1997 and 2014. We used descriptive statistics and step-wise logistic regression models with primary funding, gender and race, and initial employment as predictors to explore the research questions. Descriptive statistics indicate female students enter Education as a career sector in higher proportions than men 2 to 3 years after receiving their degree, while male students enter Industry in higher proportions. White, Asian, and International students are more likely to be employed in Industry 5 to 6 years after receiving their degree, while Black and Hispanic students are more likely to be employed in Education. The final logistic regression model with funding, gender and race, and employment type as predictors showed Hispanic, Asian, Temporary, and Employed as statistically significant. It is important to understand how student experiences in grad school prepare students for future careers and whether opportunities are presented equitably. Future work includes understanding student interests at the start and end of graduate school and whether funding type influences career goals and interests.

Denton, M., & Choe, N. H., & Nguyen, K. A., & Borrego, M. J., & Knight, D. B., & Bortz, W. W., & Kinoshita, T. (2019, June), Predictors of Engineering Doctoral Students' Future Career Sector Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33185

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