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Racially Diverse Women's and Men's Adjustment to STEM Majors: Implications for Recruitment and Retention

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Recruitment & Retention of Women I

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count

7

Page Numbers

22.1209.1 - 22.1209.7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18961

Download Count

24

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Paper Authors

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Matthew J Miller University of Maryland

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Dr. Miller received his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Loyola University Chicago and is currently an assistant professor at the University of Maryland. His research interests span four related areas: multiculturalism, vocational psychology, social justice engagement, and applied psychological measurement. He is currently on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Counseling Psychology, Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, and the Asian American Journal of Psychology.

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Robert Lent University of Maryland, College Park

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Paige E Smith University of Maryland, College Park

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Paige Smith has served as the Director of the Women in Engineering (WIE) Program in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland since September 2001. WIE provides a comprehensive set of academic year and summer outreach programs for students in grades 4-12. Retention programs include a living and learning community, peer mentoring and fellowships in research and teaching. Paige is also the Director of the Mid-Atlantic Girls Collaborative (MAGiC), a regional collaborative of the NSF funded National Girls Collaborative Project. MAGiC connects girl-serving and supporting individuals and organizations in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC that are committed to increasing the number of young women pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. Paige has 18 years of experience recruiting and retaining diverse populations in engineering. She earned her B.S. in Engineering Science and Mechanics (1992) and her M.S. (1998) and Ph.D. (2004) in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech.

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Bevlee A. Watford Virginia Tech

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Bevlee A. Watford is the interim department head of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She is also director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity. She is a fellow of ASEE.

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Gregory M. Wilkins Morgan State University

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Dr. Gregory M. Wilkins is a member of the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. He has developed and teaches courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In his duties at Morgan State University, he has served as the director and mentor for several summer programs, as the chief faculty advisor for the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, Maryland Epsilon Chapter, as a member of the Honors Program Advisory Council, and as campus coordinator for the Building Engineering Student Team Effectiveness and Management Systems (BESTEAMS) Program. He has also served as a member of the steering committees for several symposia sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and has reviewed proposals and applications for various programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). He has published several papers on the topic of computational electromagnetics and is the recipient of fellowships from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and from the NASA Administrator’s Fellowship Program (NAFP).

Dr. Wilkins is a member of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, Eta Kappa Nu Electrical Engineering Honor Society, IEEE, ASEE, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the alumni associations for the University of Maryland, the Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Illinois.

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Matthew M. Jezzi University of Maryland

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Kayi Hui University of Maryland, College Park

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Robert H Lim University of Maryland, College Park

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Nicole A Bryan University of Maryland, College Park

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Helena Mimi Martin University of Maryland, College Park

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I am a fifth year graduate student at the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Maryland, College Park. My research interests include barriers/supports of women and minorities in STEM fields, psychotherapetuic interventions, health, positive psychology, relationships, and attachment. Clinically, I am also interested in career counseling, positive psychology interventions, and attachment issues.

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Abstract

Racially Diverse Women’s and Men’s Adjustment to STEM Majors: Implications for Recruitment and Retention This study extends prior research on social cognitive career theory (SCCT; Lent, Brown& Hackett, 1994) in the context of racially diverse college students’ STEM field choice andpersistence. Specifically, this study explored racially diverse college students’ self-efficacy andcoping efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, access to environmental resources, environmentalbarriers, and coping strategies within the context of STEM field choice. Participants in this study were 245 racially diverse women (n =73) and men (n = 171)majoring in engineering at three universities on the east coast. Participants self-identified asAsian/Asian American (n = 123), African American (n = 72), Hispanic/Latina/o (n = 29), NativeAmerican/American Indian (n = 1), and other (n = 20). Participants were asked to respond to aseries of open-ended questions that explored their access to environmental resources, experienceof environmental barriers, barrier-coping strategies, and sources of self-efficacy and outcomeexpectations. The responses were reviewed and coded by a team of doctoral students (n = 5) andfaculty (n = 2) in psychology. Following a content-analysis approach, participant responses weregrouped into common themes. Participants reported experiencing several types of academic (e.g., study skill deficits),social (e.g., lack of support), and financial (e.g., tuition) hurdles during their first semester. Theyalso described factors that facilitated their academic progress – such as university programs (e.g.,mentoring, living-learning communities), social support from peers, and development ofpersonal resources (e.g., time and stress management skills) – and cited additional resources that,if available, could have further assisted their adjustment. Finally, participants reported race andgender specific events that hindered and facilitated their academic progress. Individual, program,and institutional level recommendations for the recruitment and retention of racially diversestudents in engineering will be discussed.

Miller, M. J., & Lent, R., & Smith, P. E., & Watford, B. A., & Wilkins, G. M., & Jezzi, M. M., & Hui, K., & Lim, R. H., & Bryan, N. A., & Martin, H. M. (2011, June), Racially Diverse Women's and Men's Adjustment to STEM Majors: Implications for Recruitment and Retention Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18961

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