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The value of internship experiences for engineering students is widely discussed in the literature. With this analysis, we seek to contribute knowledge addressing 1) the prevalence of internship experiences amongst engineering students drawn from a large, multi-institutional, nationally-representative sample, 2) if the likelihood of having an engineering internship experiences is equitable amongst various student identities, and 3) what additional factors influence the likelihood of a student having an internship experience, such as field of study and institution type. Data were drawn from a 2015 multi-institutional nationally representative survey of engineering juniors and seniors, excluding one institution with a mandatory co-op program (n = 5530 from 26 institutions). A z-test was used to analyze differences in internship participation rates related to academic cohort (e.g., junior, senior), gender, underrepresented minority (URM) status, first-generation, and low-income status, as well as a subset of identities at the intersection of these groups (gender + URM; first-generation + low-income). A logistic regression model further examined factors such as GPA, engineering task self-efficacy, field of engineering, and institution type. We found that amongst the students in our dataset, 64.7% of the seniors had “worked in a professional engineering environment as an intern/co-op” (41.1% of juniors, 64.7% ofmore »
A Mixed Methods Approach to Understanding How Colleges, Universities, and Employers Prepare and Support Undergraduates in Engineering Internships. San Jose, CA, USA, 2018Does engagement in high impact practices such as technical internships and undergraduate research influence engineering students’ career decisions and future plans? And how is learning that comes from these high impact practices related to “school learning”? These high impact educational practices have been shown to increase the rates of student engagement and retention in higher education. While access to and participation in these activities is often unsystematic across various institutions, these practices have been shown to benefit college students with diverse backgrounds and learner qualities. This paper establishes a context for understanding the characteristics and attitudes of students who participate in internships and undergraduate research by drawing from analyses of the first administration of the Engineering Majors Survey (EMS), a longitudinal study designed to examine engineering students’ career objectives related to creativity and innovation, and the experiences and attitudes that might influence those goals. In addition, using interview data from product development interns at a single engineering firm, we add insights into the specific skills that interns identify as learning in their internship and suggest connections between school-and-work learning. The more general picture of the impact of internship and research experiences (from the EMS), complemented with a “deep dive” intomore »