Asee peer logo

The Influence of Early STEM Career Exploration as Related to Motivation and Self-determination Theory

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Career Attitudes

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Araceli Martinez Ortiz Texas State University

visit author page

Araceli Martinez Ortiz, PhD., is Research Associate Professor of Engineering Education in the College of Education at Texas State University. She leads a comprehensive research agenda related to issues of curriculum and instruction in engineering education, motivation and preparation of under served populations of students and teachers and in assessing the impact of operationalizing culturally responsive teaching in the STEM classroom. As executive director of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research, she collaborates on various state and national STEM education programs and is PI on major grant initiatives through NASA MUREP and NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education and NSF DUE . Araceli holds Engineering degrees from The University of Michigan and Kettering University. She holds a Masters degree in Education from Michigan State and a PhD in Engineering Education from Tufts University.

visit author page


Hiroko Kawaguchi Warshauer Texas State University

visit author page

Dr. Hiroko Kawaguchi Warshauer is a faculty member in the mathematics department at Texas State University. She received her Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011. Her research interests include areas of teaching and learning that foster productive struggle and investigation of professional teacher noticing of student thinking at pre-service and in-service levels. She is co-author of the Math Exploration curriculum, a Texas Mathworks middle school textbook series state adopted in Texas and the Mathworks Junior Summer Math Camp curriculum. She provides professional development to support curriculum implementation. She is the Mathworks research coordinator, overseeing Mathworks related research about summer math camps, teacher training, curriculum, and classroom interactions with faculty and doctoral students in mathematics and mathematics education.

visit author page


Sara Garcia Torres M.Ed. Texas State University

visit author page

Mrs. Sara Garcia-Torres, PhD student at Texas State University, currently serves as a NASA Education Specialist assigned to the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research at Texas State where she delivers teacher professional development and assists with research efforts. She worked for public schools for the past 16 years as a bilingual and inclusion teacher, Gifted & Talented Facilitator, and as a STEM teacher. She works with educators, families, and community members to support STEM efforts in public schools, homes, and communities. Her research interests include STEM education, both the delivery to underrepresented students and the preparation of public school teachers.
Currently is in a PhD program at Texas State University and holds degrees from Texas State University (M.Ed.), and University of Texas at San Antonio (BA).

visit author page


Laura Rodríguez Amaya Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Laura Rodríguez Amaya serves as research faculty at the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research. In addition she is the Co-I and Assistant Site Director of the NASA Future Aerospace-engineers and Mathematicians Academy project. Her research interests include applications of geospatial technologies in issues of social justice, women in science with a focus on access and equity, and Latin America. She earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Geography in 2014 from Texas State University

visit author page

Download Paper |


A science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) summer intervention program is the setting for a career-exploration research study with over 30 adolescent students in a low-income community. Using motivation and self-determination theory as a framework, the impact of early exposure to engineering and mathematics career opportunities is examined. This study utilized mixed methods to analyze how changes in middle school students’ affective characteristics may be linked to their future career decision-making after participating in an integrated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics academic/ career summer camp. We examine three students’ decisions regarding their changes in self-reported future academic major choices and career goals utilizing measures of motivation, self-efficacy, and self-determination.

Interview data provides qualitative evidence that participants’ experiences during camp may indeed impact their short-term outlook towards their informed decision making and motivation related to pursuing STEM careers. Repeat participants (two or more years) are highlighted as case studies and their survey and interview input is analyzed to determine to what extent, if any, students attribute changes in motivation to their summer camp experiences. Given that the student participants represent a majority demographic of low income and historically underrepresented populations in STEM, particular patterns related to the participants’ ethnicity and/or gender are presented.

Ortiz, A. M., & Warshauer, H. K., & Torres, S. G., & Rodríguez Amaya, L. (2018, June), The Influence of Early STEM Career Exploration as Related to Motivation and Self-determination Theory Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31114

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015