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Work in Progress: Investigating the Impact of Engineering Identity, Belonging, and Career Commitment on Early Postsecondary Outcomes

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Sense of Belonging and Diversity in Engineering Programs, Courses, and Teams

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--35663

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/35663

Download Count

116

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Paper Authors

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Sandra M. Way New Mexico State University

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Sandra Way earned her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona before working as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at RAND Education. She is presently an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at New Mexico State University. Her scholarship focuses on the effects of school organization and climate on students’ behavioral and achievement outcomes. As the Co-PI for New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation, she is leading a mixed-methods study to examine how college experiences shape scientific identity development and STEM educational outcomes for women and underrepresented minority students.

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Stephanie M. Arnett New Mexico State University

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Stephanie M. Arnett earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame before working as a Jean Monnet Postdoctoral Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at New Mexico State University. Her research focuses on the sociology of education, race and ethnicity, and social stratification, with much of her work focusing on international comparisons, especially in the Latin American region. Her current cross-national research examines how family socioeconomic status, school factors, and the structural characteristics of nations interact in order to produce education stratification, and identifying specific contexts that weaken the relationship between social class and academic outcomes. She is also currently working with Dr. Sandra Way and the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation to examine how college experiences shape scientific identity development and STEM educational outcomes for women and underrepresented minority students in the state of New Mexico.

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Jeremy J. Brown New Mexico State University

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Jeremy Brown is a Master's candidate of Sociology at New Mexico State University. He completed his bachelor's degree in 2018 and is set to graduate this summer after completing a thesis project on microaggressions amongst undergraduates in STEM using a focus group methodology. He has worked as a research assistant for the past two years on a grant sponsored by the NSF that explores URM success. He plans to apply to a PhD program for the Fall of 2021.

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Miquela K. Gorham

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Miquela Gorham is a graduate student at New Mexico State University in the Sociology Department. She also completed her Bachelor's of Arts in Sociology at New Mexico State University. Her research interest focuses on sociology of education, social inequality, and race and ethnicity.

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Lorissa Humble New Mexico State University

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I am a senior undergraduate student in computer science and sociology at New Mexico State University. Currently, I work as a research assistant for the New Mexico Alliance for Minority participation studying student persistence and retention in STEM disciplines.

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Abstract

This work in progress paper describes initial findings from a multi-cohort, longitudinal study designed to investigate engineering identity development and the role it plays in postsecondary engineering students’ commitment to the field and educational persistence. Although engineering identity is often considered an important contributing factor to educational and occupational persistence, there are few quantitative studies that directly examine this link. This study aims to address this gap and contribute to a better understanding of how we may foster engineering identity and help support students in their educational trajectories.

To capture engineering identity, we use survey questions developed and validated in previous research to measure three scientific identity concepts: interest, recognition by self and others, and perceptions of competence and performance in engineering. Drawing on additional concepts in the literature, we also include measures of sense of belonging and commitment to an engineering career.

In the spring semester 2019, a baseline survey for our first cohort was administered to 179 early career, engineering students across three public postsecondary Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) in the Southwest United States. A little more than half of the respondents (N=93) were attending a traditional 4-year university while the remainder (N=86) were attending community college at the time of the survey. Almost 70% of the respondents identified as Latinx, approximately 30% identified as female, and about one-third reported that they were first-generation college students.

To examine whether students with higher engineering identity, sense of belonging and career commitment are more likely to persist into their second year and have higher college GPAs, institutional enrollment and achievement data were obtained for all survey participants in our first cohort. Logistic and ordinary least squares (OLS) regression were used to test for significant associations, controlling for demographic factors. Preliminary findings suggest that engineering students’ sense of belonging to the field may be especially important.

Way, S. M., & Arnett, S. M., & Brown, J. J., & Gorham, M. K., & Humble, L. (2020, June), Work in Progress: Investigating the Impact of Engineering Identity, Belonging, and Career Commitment on Early Postsecondary Outcomes Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35663

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