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The Roots of Science, Mathematics and Engineering Self-confidence in College Students: Voices of Successful Undergraduate Women

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division: Retention of Undergraduate Students

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1574.1 - 26.1574.15



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Paper Authors


Kimberly Grau Talley P.E. Texas State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Kimberly G. Talley is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Technology at Texas State University and a licensed Professional Engineer. She received her Ph.D. and M.S.E. from the University of Texas at Austin in Structural Engineering. Her undergraduate degrees in History and Construction Engineering and Management are from North Carolina State University. Dr. Talley teaches courses in the Construction Science and Management Program, and her research focus is in student engagement and retention in engineering and engineering technology education. Contact:

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Araceli Martinez Ortiz Texas State University

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Araceli Martinez Ortiz, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Engineering Education in the College of Education at Texas State University. Araceli is Director of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research and teaches graduate courses in Integrated STEM Curriculum and Instruction. She collaborates on various state and national STEM education programs and is PI on major grant initiates with NASA Educator Professional Development and NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education. 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. Her research interests include studying the role of engineering as a curricular context for mathematics and science learning in K-20 and developing research-based active-learning instructional models and assessment instruments to enhance engineering students’ learning experiences and STEM Teacher professional development. She works with teachers, families, and students from underrepresented communities.

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition / Women in Engineering Division   The Roots of Science, Mathematics and Engineering Self-Confidence in College Students: Voices of Successful Undergraduate Women AbstractWith the percentage of women in STEM majors at _____ University, a large Hispanic ServingInstitution, significantly lower than the percentage of women attending the university in general,the authors sought to understand this gap by studying the perspectives of undergraduate womenwho have successfully persisted in a STEM field of study at the same university. Specifically,the goal of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of what experiences women creditedfor influencing their self-efficacy, the development of their career interest goals and theiracademic course outcomes as related to studying science, technology, engineering andmathematics (STEM). This study was also designed to identify experiences that appear tocontribute to women’s identity development and self-confidence. Data was collected andanalyzed to identify if similar patterns exist between subjects and if so, which are the greaterinfluencers in their decision to select a STEM major and to persist beyond the critical first twoyears of undergraduate studies.The literature of socialization and identity development as related to women as STEM learners indiverse communities is reviewed. This study begins to create an understanding of how womenthink about their multiple social identities (field of study, gender, culture, etc.). Focus groupstrategies for obtaining in-depth feedback regarding young women’s attitudes, perceptions,motivations, and behaviors is discussed. Observations and recommendations regarding the2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition / Women in Engineering Division  research methodologies for study design and data analysis are presented with particular attentionto the rationale for cultural responsive practices in qualitative research. A mixed methodsresearch approach including the use of surveys and focus groups was used to collect studentperceptions from junior and senior status students in STEM fields of study. Preliminary resultsindicate that students identify early personal experiences as building their self-confidence andcontributing to their identity development. Drawing on self-perception theory, women appear todevelop a more robust sense of persistence and feel that they fit into STEM- even when facedwith sexism from other students.

Talley, K. G., & Ortiz, A. M. (2015, June), The Roots of Science, Mathematics and Engineering Self-confidence in College Students: Voices of Successful Undergraduate Women Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24911

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