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Variances In Coping Efficacy Among Women Stem Students: Is Gender Or Discipline More Influential?

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

The Impact of Engineering Disciplines

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1378.1 - 13.1378.13



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Paper Authors


Venetia Dover Howard University

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VENETIA A. DOVER is a 5th year Ph.D. student at the Howard University School of Social Work and teaches a course in their research sequence. She also serves as a Research Associate on a National Science Foundation grant designed to examine the post baccalaureate decisions of High Achieving Black STEM students. Her research interests include educational issues impacting college age African Americans, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Social Work Education and depression among Afro-Caribbean women.

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Dawn Williams Howard University


Lorraine Fleming Howard University

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LORRAINE FLEMING is professor and former Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at Howard University. Dr. Fleming serves as the Co-PI of a National Science Foundation HBCU Undergraduate Program grant designed to increase the number of underrepresented minorities who pursue degrees in engineering, mathematics, and science. Additionally, she is a Co-PI for the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education. She serves as the Principal Investigator of an NSF grant designed to study the post baccalaureate decisions of high achieving Black STEM students. She is also a 2005 Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Most recently, Dr. Fleming is the recipient of the 2008 National Society of Black Engineers Educator of the Year Award.

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Viara Quinones Howard University

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Viara Quiñones is a Counseling Psychology doctoral student at Howard University. She serves as a graduate research assistant for the National Science Foundation funded grant High Achieving Black STEM Students (HABSS) longitudinal study. Her research explores psychological and sociocultural factors affecting international STEM students’ undergraduate process.

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

Variances in Coping Efficacy among Women STEM Students: Is Gender or Discipline More Influential?


This study uses Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) to examine the coping efficacy of high achieving women STEM students as it relates to their post baccalaureate career decisions. Differences between male and female students were examined to answer the following question: Is gender or academic discipline most influential in students’ perception of their ability to cope with the challenges associated with pursuing a post baccalaureate degree. Quantitative data was obtained via the first phase of a multi method longitudinal study conducted at a HBCU in fall 2006 using a sample of 51 high achieving (GPA>3.0) Black STEM students. Findings revealed that when compared to men, women are more likely to pursue professional or graduate school upon graduation; however, there were no statistically significant differences in coping efficacy. Overall, study findings provide insights about the role that academic climate plays on the post baccalaureate decision making process.


Research suggest that the number of women earning baccalaureate degrees in science and engineering has increased every year since 1966 (excluding 1988) and by 2004 women earned 44% of master’s degrees in science and engineering (as illustrated in Figures 1 and 2)1. Although the number of baccalaureate degrees for men in science and engineering reached over 224,000 in 2004, the number of master’s degrees earned by men in the sciences and engineering declined during the 1990s (as illustrated in Figures 1 and 2)2.

Figure 1. Bachelor's degrees awarded in S&E and non-S&E fields by sex: 1966–2004

Source: National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, special tabulations of U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, Completions Survey,1966–2001.

Dover, V., & Williams, D., & Fleming, L., & Quinones, V. (2008, June), Variances In Coping Efficacy Among Women Stem Students: Is Gender Or Discipline More Influential? Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4100

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