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Retention Of Recent Women Engineering, Mathematics, And Science Graduates In The Workplace

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Retention: Keeping the Women Students

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.987.1 - 8.987.14



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Paper Authors

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Philip Parker

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Retention of Recent Women Engineering, Mathematics, and Science Graduates in the Workplace

Philip J. Parker 1 and Erin E. Ralph2

Technical Session #1392

1 Introduction

This study was initiated in response to several conversations the first author, Dr. Parker, had with women who were either nearing graduation from the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) program at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville (UWP) or had recently begun working in the engineering workplace. These particular women were above average students, had had summer engineering internships, had above-average communication skills, and had excellent personalities. However, they were either quite apprehensive about entering the engineering profession or were dissatisfied with their current jobs.

These women cited various reasons, including lack of interaction with co-workers, dislike of the cubicle syndrome, work that was too structured, etc. Certainly, the same complaints are heard from male students and recent male graduates, but due to the fact that these conversations occurred within the space of a few weeks and that they were so similar, Dr. Parker was curious whether these were merely interesting anecdotes or were indicative of a larger trend.

To investigate this potential trend, we have created and administered a survey to 303 recent women engineering, mathematics, and science graduates from UWP. This paper introduces the survey we created and analyzes and assesses the results.

2 Creation of the Survey

The primary intent of the survey was to determine the fraction of women graduates from the College of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science (EMS) at UWP who were retained in the SMET (Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology) workplace. A variety of questions using a variety of formats were used to help determine which factors impacted the decision of women to be retained in the SMET workplace.

We investigated two groups of factors which might impact a woman’s decision to remain in a SMET workplace. The first group of factors dealt with determining the reasons that survey respondents pursued a SMET degree in the first place. These factors were adapted directly from the work of Seymour and Hewitt (1997), who identified the most common

1 Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin- Platteville, Platteville, WI 53818; 2 Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Platteville, WI 53818;

Parker, P. (2003, June), Retention Of Recent Women Engineering, Mathematics, And Science Graduates In The Workplace Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11604

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