This study examines the relationship between participation in extracurricular college activities and its possible impact on students’ career interests in entrepreneurship and innovation. This work draws from the Engineering Majors Survey (EMS), focusing on innovation self-efficacy and how it may be impacted by participation in various extracurricular college activities. The term self-efficacy as developed by Albert Bandura is defined as “people’s judgment of their capabilities to organize and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances” (Bandura, 1986, p.391). Innovation self-efficacy is a variable consisting of six items that correspond to Dyer’s five discovery skills seen as important for innovative behavior. In order to investigate the relationship between participation in certain activities and innovation self-efficacy, the 20 activities identified in the EMS survey were grouped thematically according to their relevance to entrepreneurship-related topics. Students were divided into two groups using K-means cluster analysis according to their innovation selfefficacy (ISE.6) score. Cluster one (C1) contained the students with higher ISE.6 scores, Cluster two (C2) included the students with lower innovation self-efficacy scores. This preliminary research focused on descriptive analyses while also looking at different background characteristics such as gender, academic status and underrepresented minority status (URM). The resultsmore »
Impact-Driven Engineering Students: Contributing Behavioral Correlates.
Engineering has a long history of developing solutions to meet societal needs, and humanity currently faces many and varied societal challenges. Who are the engineering students motivated to address such challenges? This study explores a sample of 5,819 undergraduate engineering students from a survey administered in 2015 to a nationally representative set of twenty-seven U.S. engineering schools. The survey was developed to study the background, learning experiences, academic activities and proximal influences that motivate an engineering undergraduate student to pursue innovative work post-graduation. As part of this survey students indicated their interest in pursuing work that addresses societal challenges. A step-wise regression analysis is used to predict interest in societal impact and by contrast interest in financial potential with respect to 71 demographic, background and academic experience variables. The results confirm previous studies – a large majority of engineering undergraduates are interested in impact-driven work with an over-representation of female and under-represented minority students. This study sheds new light on the background and academic experiences that predict interest in impact-driven as compared to financially-driven engineering work. It is found that experiences promoting a service ethic and broadening oneself outside of engineering are important predictors of interest in impact-driven work. What is less expected is the significant importance of innovation interests and innovation self-efficacy more »
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, June 25-28. Columbus, OH.
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
Impacts Resulting from a Large-Scale First-Year Engineering and Computer Science Program on Students’ Successful Persistence Toward Degree CompletionThere is a critical need for more students with engineering and computer science majors to enter into, persist in, and graduate from four-year postsecondary institutions. Increasing the diversity of the workforce by inclusive practices in engineering and science is also a profound identified need. According to national statistics, the largest groups of underrepresented minority students in engineering and science attend U.S. public higher education institutions. Most often, a large proportion of these students come to colleges and universities with unique challenges and needs, and are more likely to be first in their family to attend college. In response to these needs, engineering education researchers and practitioners have developed, implemented and assessed interventions to provide support and help students succeed in college, particularly in their first year. These interventions typically target relatively small cohorts of students and can be managed by a small number of faculty and staff. In this paper, we report on “work in progress” research in a large-scale, first-year engineering and computer science intervention program at a public, comprehensive university using multivariate comparative statistical approaches. Large-scale intervention programs are especially relevant to minority serving institutions that prepare growing numbers of students who are first in their family tomore »
This study examines the roots of entrepreneurial career goals among today’s U.S. undergraduate engineering students. Extensive literature exists on entrepreneurship education and on students’ career decision making, yet little work connects the two. To address this gap, we explore a sample of 5,819 undergraduate engineering students from a survey administered in 2015 to a nationally representative set of twenty-seven U.S. engineering schools. We identify how individual background measures, occupational learning experiences, and socio-cognitive measures such as self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, and interest in innovation and entrepreneurship affect students’ entrepreneurial career focus. Based on career focus, the sample is split into “Starters” and “Joiners” where Starters are students who wish to start a new venture and Joiners are those who wish to join an existing venture. Results show the demographic, behavioral, and socio-cognitive characteristics of each group. Findings suggest that relative to Joiners, Starters have stronger occupational self-efficacy beliefs which are driven by higher interests in innovation-related activities and ascribing greater importance to involvement in innovation practices early in their careers. Additionally, the significant influence of particular learning experiences is discussed. These results have implications for engineering and entrepreneurship education. (This paper earned Best Research Paper Award, 3rd Place, in themore »
Need/Motivation (e.g., goals, gaps in knowledge) The ESTEEM implemented a STEM building capacity project through students’ early access to a sustainable and innovative STEM Stepping Stones, called Micro-Internships (MI). The goal is to reap key benefits of a full-length internship and undergraduate research experiences in an abbreviated format, including access, success, degree completion, transfer, and recruiting and retaining more Latinx and underrepresented students into the STEM workforce. The MIs are designed with the goals to provide opportunities for students at a community college and HSI, with authentic STEM research and applied learning experiences (ALE), support for appropriate STEM pathway/career, preparation and confidence to succeed in STEM and engage in summer long REUs, and with improved outcomes. The MI projects are accessible early to more students and build momentum to better overcome critical obstacles to success. The MIs are shorter, flexibly scheduled throughout the year, easily accessible, and participation in multiple MI is encouraged. ESTEEM also establishes a sustainable and collaborative model, working with partners from BSCS Science Education, for MI’s mentor, training, compliance, and building capacity, with shared values and practices to maximize the improvement of student outcomes. New Knowledge (e.g., hypothesis, research questions) Research indicates that REU/internship experiences canmore »
To gain a deeper understanding of the career decisions of undergraduate engineering students, this research paper explores the differences between students who show a high degree of career certainty and those who are rather uncertain about what their professional future should look like. These analyses were based on a dataset from a nationwide survey of engineering undergraduates (n=5,819) from 27 institutions in the United States. The survey was designed with an interest in understanding engineering students’ career pathways. For the purpose of this study, students were designated as either “career uncertain” or “career certain” according to their survey answers. Those two groups were then compared against a variety of background characteristics, past experiences and personality variables. The results suggest that career uncertain and career certain students do not differ on background variables such as gender, age or family income. However, when it comes to students’ past experiences, the percentage of students who had already gained internship experiences during their time in college was significantly higher among career certain students as compared to career uncertain students. As expected, seniors were more certain about their professional future than juniors. Similarly, a higher percentage of career certain students reported talking about their professionalmore »