skip to main content


Title: Influencing Student Engineering Interest and Identity: A Study Investigating the Effect of Engineering Summer Camps on Middle and High School Students (Work in Progress)
Award ID(s):
1738141
NSF-PAR ID:
10127649
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
ASEE 2019 Conference & Exposition Proceedings
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
  2. As concerns about the preparation of engineers grow, so has interest in the dimensions of engineering identity. By having a thorough understanding of engineering identity, departments will be better able to produce engineers who understand their role as a member of the profession. Generally, engineering identity literature has not focused on specific disciplinary identities, instead looking at engineering as a whole. Previous literature has utilized role identity theory (e.g., Gee, 2001) and identified key dimensions of engineering identity, including one’s performance/competence and interest in engineering courses and recognition as a current/future engineer (Godwin, 2016; Godwin et al., 2013; Godwin et al., 2016). This paper deepens our understanding of electrical and computer engineering identities. As part of research activities associated with National Science Foundation grant looking at professional formation of socio-technically minded students, we analyzed texts and documents from an electrical and computer engineering department to examine the department’s professed priorities. Using document analysis, we answered this research question: How is a department’s commitment to undergraduate engineering identity development expressed in departmental documents? Document analysis focuses on texts to describe some aspect of the social world (Bowen, 2009). This analysis was performed with two types of departmental documents: front-facing documents (e.g., websites, newsletters) and internal documents (e.g., ABET self-studies, program evaluations) from an electrical and computing engineering department at a public research university. Analysis employed a priori and emergent coding schemas to formulate themes related to identity, performance/capability, interest, and recognition present in departmental documents (Bowen, 2009; Godwin, 2016). Specifically, we skimmed documents to ascertain inclusion status; read and coded documents in depth; and identified broader themes across documents (Bowen, 2009). One broad theme was a lack of attention to identity; another showed emphasis on technical skills/competencies. By interrogating absences, we found that there is little attention being paid to identity development or its components in these documents. In other words, these texts do not indicate that the department is invested in supporting students’ senses of interest, performance, and recognition as electrical and computer engineers. Rather, we found that these texts emphasize the acquisition of specific concepts, skills, and competencies. Overall, analysis indicated that the department does not cultivate holistic engineering student identities. The resultant implications are by no means irrelevant—a focus on identity over specific skills could increase retention, increase student satisfaction, and produce better future engineers. 
    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
  4. This paper discusses feasible means of integrating mentorship programs into engineering and engineering technology curricula. The two main motivations for investigating the development of such programs are to improve retention rates and to augment the efforts toward increasing the enrollment of minority students. In fact, it can be argued that a mentorship program can also indirectly assist in the achievement of critical student outcomes for accreditation. The model of mentorship presented in this paper involves a vertical integration of cohorts through a series of project-based learning (PBL) courses. Furthermore, this attempt is enhanced by the introduction of incentives that encourage student involvement in undergraduate research as well as on-campus engineering organizations. The specific focus of the mentorship is on student-student relationships in addition to the conventional faculty-student relationships. These relationships allow students to learn from each other since they are able to strongly relate to each other’s experiences among their peer group. The mentoring model proposed in this paper formulates a learning community that allows the student to form a support group and a mechanism for preventive intervention, as discussed in other studies on mentoring programs. Such student engagement is commonly acknowledged to significantly benefit the students as well as the student mentors involved in the program. Data from an initial student survey that measures the efficacy of the proposed mentorship program is included in this paper and these data are discussed in detail. A 1-5 Likert scale is used for quantitative analysis of the data in order to evaluate the self-efficacy of the program. The group size of the mentorship cohort has been limited to a maximum of thirty students at this stage. Preliminary analysis of the data indicates that the participating students have a strongly positive opinion of the program. 
    more » « less
  5. Does emphasizing the role of people in engineering influence the memorability of engineering content? This study is part of a larger project through which our team developed a new undergraduate energy course to better reflect students’ cultures and lived experiences through asset-based pedagogies to help students develop a sociotechnical mindset in engineering problem solving. In this study, students in the class were invited to participate in semi-structured interviews (n=5) to explore our effectiveness in helping them develop a sociotechnical mindset around energy issues and conceptualize engineering as a sociotechnical endeavor. This study focuses on an activity during the interview where the participants were asked to sort a variety of images associated with class learning experiences along a spectrum of least to most memorable. Emergent themes from students’ responses revolved around learning experiences that included global perspectives and emphasized a “who” (i.e., whose problems, who is impacted by engineering, and what type of engineers the students will choose to become) as the most memorable. Our results indicate that students found the sociotechnical aspects of the course more memorable than the traditional canonical engineering content. These findings suggest that framing engineering content as sociotechnical can be one strategy to increase student engagement, increase memorability of lessons, and help students to think more deeply about their own goals as future engineers. 
    more » « less