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STEM Seniors: Strong Connections to Community Are Associated with Identity and Positive Affect in the Classroom

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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

Professional Identity

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

18

Page Numbers

22.1324.1 - 22.1324.18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18486

Download Count

33

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Paper Authors

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Melani Plett Seattle Pacific University

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Melani I. Plett earned her B.S. in electrical engineering from Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Washington in 1991. She earned the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington in 1993 and 2000, respectively.
She is currently an associate professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at Seattle Pacific University. Her research interests include engineering education, engineering identity and workplace persistence, and non-stationary signal processing/detection theory.

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Diane Carlson Jones University of Washington

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Joy K. Crawford

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Tamara Floyd Smith Tuskegee University

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Donald M. Peter, M.S. P.E. Seattle Pacific University

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Don has taught electrical engineering at Seattle Pacific University since 1987, specializing in analog and power electronics, Before that he worked as a design/evaluation/diagnostics engineer at Tektronx, Inc. for eleven years. He has been envovled in various consulting projects, including two summers as a NASA Summer Faculty Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laborary in Pasadena, CA. He has a B.S. in Physics from Seattle Pacfic University and an MSEE from the University of Washington. Don is an IEEE senior member and member of the ASEE.

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Elaine P. Scott Seattle Pacific University

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Professor Scott earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in agricultural engr. from the Univ. of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. in agricultural engr. (1987) and a Ph.D. in mechanical engr. at Michigan State Univ. (1990). She was on the faculty at Michigan State for two years and at Virginia Tech from 1992 to 2006. There, she served as the founding director for the Virginia Tech – Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engr. and Sciences, a joint biomedical engr. graduate program. Her research work focused on thermal characterization and inverse problems applied to a variety of applications, including micro-wave freezing of foods, characterization of aerospace structures, blood perfusion measurement, and power electronics. She has been at Seattle Pacific Univ. as Professor and Director of Engr. Programs since 2006. Since coming to Seattle Pacific, her research has focused on engr. education and retention, and on the development of appropriate technologies for people in need throughout the world. She has published over 40 refereed journal articles and nearly 60 refereed conference proceedings, and she is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

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Denise Wilson University of Washington

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Denise Wilson is an Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering and holds an adjunct appointment in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. She received her B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology, both in Electrical Engineering. Prior to beginning her Ph.D., she worked for Applied Materials, a semiconductor capital equipment maker. She also holds an M.Ed. from the University of Washington (2008). Her research interests cover major threads in engineering education as well as (chemical and biological) sensors research which cross-over into her work in community based partnerships and community outreach. Her international work in study-abroad programs, run through the University of Washington Exploration Seminars, bridge her sensors and education interests.

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Rebecca A. Bates Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Rebecca A. Bates received the B.S. degree in biomedical engineering from Boston University in 1990, the M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Boston University in 1996 and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington in 2004. She also received the M.T.S. degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1993. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Computer Science department at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include speech recognition and understanding as well as engineering education.

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Nanette M. Veilleux Simmons College

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Nanette Veilleux is an Associate Professor in the Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science Department at Simmons College and chair of the undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Her research field is Computational Linguistics where she investigates the use of intonation in human speech. She has participated in numerous workshops, conferences and experiments in pedagogy and is very interested in making science assessible to women students.

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Abstract

Student connection to community in STEM education impacts identification with and affect toward the STEM disciplineWe recently developed a conceptual model that indicated that STEM studentsʼ connections toacademic communities would foster their academic engagement and subsequently theiridentification with their discipline and positive affect toward it. The links between connection tocommunity and both identification and affect are indirect, but important as the engineeringeducation community discusses what is necessary in educating engineers. It has been shown thatif we want our graduates to contribute to the engineering community of practice then we mustconsider the interdependencies among community, learning and identity.We have just completed the first year of this multi-year, multi-university study. In the first year,we tested the indirect links between connection to community and both identification with thediscipline and affect toward it. (The intermediate link, engagement, is the subject of ourongoing research). To test these links, we surveyed a total of 287 students, most of whom wereseniors, majoring in physics, math, computing sciences and engineering at five disparateuniversities. Survey items measured the STEM students’ sense of professional identity, affecttoward their discipline and their connection to community at the following levels: individualcourses, academic major and the larger institution.Our survey results indicate which measures of professional identity and affect are most relevantfor this effort. Further, our results reveal a strong Pearson correlation (0.50) between identityand connection to academic major as well as between affect and connection to academic major(0.56) , somewhat smaller correlations to a specific classroom community (0.41 and 0.39), andstill significant, but even smaller correlations to the larger institution (0.32 and 0.25). Thus,helping students connect to academic major communities and classrooms appears to increase thestudentsʼ professional identities and affect toward those professions.

Plett, M., & Jones, D. C., & Crawford, J. K., & Smith, T. F., & Peter, M.S., D. M., & Scott, E. P., & Wilson, D., & Bates, R. A., & Veilleux, N. M. (2011, June), STEM Seniors: Strong Connections to Community Are Associated with Identity and Positive Affect in the Classroom Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18486

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