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Women Enrolled in Engineering Programs: Their Interests and Goals

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 10

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Katherine L Walters University of Georgia Orcid 16x16


John M Mativo University of Georgia

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Katherine Walters is a PhD Student at the University of Georgia

Dr. John Mativo is Associate Professor at the University of Georgia. His research interest lies in two fields. The first is research focusing on best and effective ways to teaching and learning in STEM K-16. He is currently researching on best practices in learning Dynamics, a sophomore engineering core course. The second research focus of Dr. Mativo is energy harvesting in particular the design and use of flexible thermoelectric generators. His investigation is both for the high-tech and low tech applications. In addition to teaching courses such as energy systems, mechanics, mechatronics, and production, he investigates best ways to expand cutting edge technologies to the workforce.

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Uduak Zenas George San Diego State University

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Uduak Z. George is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at San Diego State University. She received her B.S. in Electrical/Electronic Engineering and M.S. in Computational Mathematics with Modeling. She earned her doctoral degree in Mathematics. Her research interests include computational fluid dynamics, biomechanics, parameter estimation, digital image processing and analysis, and numerical approximation of partial differential equations on fixed and evolving domains.

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Women enrolled in engineering programs: Their interests and goals

A need to increase the number of students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education and careers has been emphasized in many forums. Of particular interest is finding reasons and ways of increasing the number of women engineering majors across colleges and universities. An investigation was done at a research 1 university to determine the factors that encourage women to enroll in an engineering major. The goal was to identify possible avenues to invest our effort towards enhancing the recruitment and retention of women engineering students. The data collected from the study included demographics, reason for enrolling in engineering, and the influence of family, school, technology and extracurricular activities on the career choice of study participants. One hundred eighty-six students responded to the survey but only 176 were used because they are the only ones that met the criteria of being a woman, undergraduate, and completing the online survey. Over 74% of the participants identified as white, 15% Asian, 6% African American, 3% Biracial and 3% identified as Hispanic. Most (83%) students attended regular public schools, 77% did not attend STEM related summer camps or after school programs, 61% did not attend Arts related summer camps and after school programs. The majority of the students (62%) enrolled in the major because they were interested in the major/discipline. Upon graduation 46% participants planned to work full-time, while 21% planned to work full-time and pursue graduate school, and 20% planned to pursue graduate school. Media played no role to student decision to enroll as engineering major. Less than half of the participants had family members with engineering degrees. This study showed that having a family member who had an engineering background encouraged women to pursue engineering as a major. The data resulting from this study seems to suggest that motivation to enrolling in engineering programs is based on student interest in the subject and desire for a secure career. Therefore this paper explores potential experiences that could lead to interest in engineering and how to intentionally cultivate and sustain this interest.

Walters, K. L., & Mativo, J. M., & George, U. Z. (2020, June), Women Enrolled in Engineering Programs: Their Interests and Goals Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35584

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