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Relationship between Personality Types and Topical Interests of Engineering Students, if Any: A Work in Progress

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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

First-Year Programs: Work in Progress Postcard Session

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Goli Nossoni University of New Haven

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Dr. Goli Nossoni is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of New Haven. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Structural Engineering and Materials Science. In addition to her interest in engineering education, Dr. Nossoni specializes in the research area of materials especially concrete and corrosion of steel inside concrete.

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Jean Nocito-Gobel University of New Haven

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Jean Nocito-Gobel, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of New Haven, received her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has been actively involved in a number of educational initiatives in the Tagliatela College of Engineering including KEEN and PITCH, PI of the ASPIRE grant, and is the coordinator for the first-year Intro to Engineering course. Her professional interests include modeling the transport and fate of contaminants in groundwater and surface water systems, as well as engineering education reform.

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Ronald S. Harichandran University of New Haven

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Ron Harichandran is Dean of the Tagliatela College of Engineering.

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One of the most well-known personality assessment tools is the Myers Brigg Personality Type Indicator® (MBTI) test. According to the MBTI, people are classified in 16 different personality types. Results of the MBTI self-assessment test indicates whether the person tends to be sensing (S) or intuitive (N), thinking (T) or feeling (F), judging (J) or perceiving (P), and extroverted (E) or introverted (I). No personality type is considered to be better than another; it is just a tool to help individuals know more about their strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, compatibility with other people and even possible career preferences. A study done by ASEE-MBTI in 1980 showed that the majority of engineering students tend to have thinking and judging personality types and often they are introverted. There is a public perception that if an individual is good in math and science, s/he should pursue an engineering career. However, the engineering field, similar to all the other fields, is evolving at a very fast pace. Advanced technologies may ease many past technical challenges, but new challenges always emerge. Today, more than ever before, engineering disciplines not only need strong technical minds, but also, strong communicators, entrepreneurs, managers and even “sustainabilists”. These new skill demands in engineering fields may attract people with different personality types than traditional engineering. Are we ready for these new types of students in the classroom?

The relationship between freshman students’ personality types and their interests in different aspects of engineering fields is presented in this paper. The personality types of undergraduate engineering students in the freshman Introduction to Engineering course were determined using the MBTI test. The Introduction to Engineering course at the University of ________ is a project-based learning course that includes four projects. Each project emphasizes a different engineering field while also addressing technical communication, sustainability, entrepreneurship and creativity. Correlations between students’ personality types and different aspects of engineering such as sustainability, entrepreneurship, communication or traditional engineering and their learning preferences are presented. The results of the study can be used to improve the recruitment and retention of more diverse students into engineering fields.

Nossoni, G., & Nocito-Gobel, J., & Harichandran, R. S. (2019, June), Relationship between Personality Types and Topical Interests of Engineering Students, if Any: A Work in Progress Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33234

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