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The Motivation of Low-Income Engineering Transfer Students that Influences Choosing and Pursuing a Baccalaureate Degree Attainment in Engineering

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

2-Year College Division: Students and the Pipeline

Tagged Division

Two-Year College

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Leo Salgado University of California, Irvine Orcid 16x16

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Leo Salgado earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the Unversity of California, Irvine in 2018. After graduation, he continues his education at the University of California, Irvine and is pursuing a Masters of Science degree in Solid Mechanics and researching in Engineering Education.

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Sharnnia Artis University of California, Irvine

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Dr. Sharnnia Artis is the Assistant Dean of Access and Inclusion for the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. She is responsible for programs at the pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate levels to facilitate the recruitment, retention, and overall success of students from traditionally underrepresented groups in engineering and information and computer sciences. Dr. Artis has 18 years of experience working with education and outreach programs in engineering and over 35 publications in STEM education and outreach. Prior to joining UC Irvine, she was the Education and Outreach Director for the Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, Dr. Artis spent nine years at Virginia Tech providing program and student support for the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity and has four years of industry and government experience as a Human Factors Engineer. Dr. Artis holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech.

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Hye Rin Lee University of California, Irvine

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Hye Rin Lee is an education doctoral student at the University of California, Irvine with a concentration in Human Development in Context. She was awarded the 2018 Provost Ph.D. Fellowship and NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Prior to UCI, Hye Rin received her B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from Franklin and Marshall College.

Hye Rin’s research interests are self-reflection, academic interventions, online learning in education, measurement, temporal motivation, and resilience in students with disabilities. Specifically, her research focuses on (1) creating an effective intervention that helps URMs persist and continue on in STEM majors via the social media platform, YouTube; (2) examining the nuances related to various measures of academic self-related motivational beliefs; (3) resilient students who achieve high levels of academic performance despite their disability; and (4) combining aspects of cognitive and positive psychology to study individual differences in motivation, particularly in exploring whether memories of past experiences and views of future self may impact an individual’s strength of motivation in a task/goal.

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Lorenzo Valdevit University of California, Irvine

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The transfer pathway in engineering disciplines, especially for low-income students, is often seen as an opportunity to expand the science and engineering workforce, particularly when transferring from a two-year community college to a four-year institution. This study focused on academically talented low-income transfer students’ motivational factors that led them to choose and continue to pursue an engineering baccalaureate degree(s).

This studied used Eccles's (1983) expectancy-value theory of motivation as the guiding theoretical framework to show the relationship between competence and value beliefs as the motivated actions towards earning an engineering degree. It relates competence to, “Can I earn an engineering degree?” and task value beliefs to, “Do I want to earn an engineering degree?” Twenty students (12 first-year and 8 second-year low-income engineering transfer students) were interviewed about their experiences in engineering. Additionally, these twenty students completed a survey collecting data on their demographics, recognition, social belongingness, performance, and value beliefs. A qualitative analysis showed that students mainly chose to pursue a baccalaureate degree in engineering due to the financial reward, family influences, faculty support, and early childhood interest. Furthermore, students’ motivation to continue to pursue an engineering degree was attributed to prestige, engineering experiences acquired, financial and academic support, faculty and peer support, and gain of engineering knowledge throughout their academic journey.

Implications of the study were: a) a set of small samples of data was analyzed, and b) examination of students belonging to a specific cohort. This cohort was provided with financial and academic support to navigate through their studies. Future studies could consist of various topics. For example, a longitudinal research study is required to track students’ motivation and how it transitions over time. Also, a study that compares two-year community college students transferring to a four-year institution who received financial support by applying for it versus students that were provided with a full financial tuition package. Furthermore, a research study about low-income engineering transfer students who do not belong to a cohort and are not receiving financial support. Overall, the study intended to further explore low-income engineering transfer student’s experiences, in terms of motivation, which led them to choose and continue to pursue engineering.

Salgado, L., & Artis, S., & Lee, H. R., & Valdevit, L. (2020, June), The Motivation of Low-Income Engineering Transfer Students that Influences Choosing and Pursuing a Baccalaureate Degree Attainment in Engineering Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35349

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