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  1. This research to practice full paper presents the work of an academic-industry research partnership to explore the internship experiences of summer interns at a large global engineering company. Engineering internships give students the opportunity to apply the engineering skills they have been learning to real products and can have a high impact on innovation and engineering task self-efficacy. The relationship between internships and innovation and engineering task selfefficacy matters because self-efficacy is an important predictor of major and career choice. Innovation interests is another measure that measures the individual’s interest in innovative behaviors, unlike ISE which measures their confidence in practicing these behaviors. This paper focuses on understanding the relationship between internship work assignment and supervisor interaction and innovation interests. Furthermore, the relationship between the internship experience and the intern’s likelihood of accepting a job offer from the same company is explored. A survey administered to engineering interns (N = 115) at the end of their summer 2017 internship at a large global engineering company forms the main dataset for this work. Keywords—Engineering Education Research, Industrial Partnerships and Collaborations, Engineering Education Research, Innovation and Creativity
  2. Previous research has shown the importance of contextual factors for increasing employee innovativeness, but to effectively support innovative behavior, we need to also understand what forms of support are perceived as meaningful by the employees themselves. The current study investigated the experiences of 35 early-career engineers in creating, championing and implementing new ideas at the workplace. They reported relatively few instances of support that had been experienced as helpful, and nearly all of these were related to either managerial or co-worker support. This support ranged from encouragement and positive feedback to tangible help in troubleshooting and finding resources, and, in the case of managers, providing sufficient autonomy and responsibility to enable the interviewees to pursue their ideas. Managerial support was most frequently reported by those working in self-described innovative positions, whereas co-worker support was more commonly reported by those working in selfdescribed innovative environments. Formal processes and incentives were less likely to have been perceived as helpful than informal interactions with managers and co-workers.
  3. Does 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 »the learning that happens in internship experiences (from the interviews) provides a solid starting point for future exploration of how high impact practices such as internships and research experiences might be better integrated into a student’s educational development.« less
  4. This Research-to-Practice Full Paper investigates engineering students’ career goals and intentions regarding organizational settings, and how their goals and intentions relate to their background, learning and contextual measures. Moreover, despite vocational choice and turnover having been heavily studied in the literature, few studies have examined how students’ career goals relate to change in their organizational settings over time and how these perceptions then influence their turnover intentions. To fill in this research gap, this paper explores how organizational setting and respondent aspiration to be in that setting relate to turnover intentions. The paper is based on the nationally-representative, longitudinal Engineering Majors Survey and has a sample size of 350 respondents, characterized as employed and recently graduated (<2y) from an undergraduate engineering program. Respondents are categorized in three different alignment groups (Aligned, Fluid, Unaligned) according to their career goal achievement. Respondents who are currently employed in the type of organization, they had imagined being employed at a year earlier are called Aligned. Respondents who are actually employed in the type of organization (e.g., small versus large firm) to which they stated “Might or might not” be employed a year earlier are classified as Fluid. Finally, respondents, who work in the organizationalmore »setting, which they did not want to work in one year prior, are called Unaligned. The paper also determines respondents turnover intentions (Stay, Flexible, Go) related to organizational settings, such as small companies or medium and large companies. Alignment and turnover groups were then compared with each other in relation to background, learning, and contextual measures. Background measures are gender, underrepresented minority status, and first generation to college status. Learning measures are internship experience, and contextual measures are job satisfaction and grade point average. The findings suggest that most of these recent graduates are Aligned and want to Stay in their organizational setting. Employees in small companies are relatively less Aligned and are more likely to Go and leave the organizational setting than are employees in large companies. Respondents who have done an internship are more often Aligned and less likely want to Go and leave their organizational setting than those who have not done an internship. These results suggest that many respondents decide before graduation on an organizational setting and continue to desire the same organizational setting after being employed for some time. Future longitudinal research should compare organizational settings-based turnover intentions with turnover intentions related to specific companies, -as a complement to much of the in literature on turnover intentions mostly refers to leaving specific organizations. Keywords: career decisions, labor turnover intentions, organizational setting, engineering graduates, alignment« less
  5. High-impact academic experiences, particularly research and internship experiences, have positive impacts for engineering students on engineering task self-efficacy (ETSE), a measure of students’ perception of their ability to perform technical engineering tasks. However, under- represented racial/ethnic minority students (URM) and women in engineering are found to have relatively lower self-perceptions across several academic and professional self-efficacy measures. Previous studies examined the impact of research and internship experiences on ETSE for students categorized by gender and URM status separately. The current study explores the impact of these experiences on ETSE for the intersection between these two identity categories. This study found that both non-URM and URM women that participated in research and internship experiences had lower ETSE scores than non-URM and URM men, respectively. However, URM women that participated in both research and internship experiences had a statistically similar ETSE score to non-URM men that had not participated in either. This study uses multiple linear regression to measure the association between engineering internships and student’s reported ETSE (effects of participating in research were not found to be significant across identities). Preliminary findings indicate that differences in ETSE between internship participants and non-participants are highest for URM women when compared to theirmore »counterparts. Consistent with the literature, this research finds that there is a greater positive effect in ETSE scores, as a result of participation in both research and internship experiences, for URM women than their majority counterparts. These preliminary results provide a foundation for further studies to causally investigate the link between academic experiences and self-efficacy levels for students who are underrepresented in engineering programs. Future implications of this work include the creation of targeted intervention efforts to increase support for all URM students’ access and participation in research and internship experiences. Additionally, this work seeks to challenge the bias towards monolithic interpretations of women and URM engineering students as separate categories and encourage intersectional perspectives when analyzing data to produce more inclusive results. Key Concepts: intersectionality, self-efficacy, engineering task self-efficacy, learning outcomes, academic pathways, inclusion, engineering experiences, research, internships« less
  6. Does 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 »the learning that happens in internship experiences (from the interviews) provides a solid starting point for future exploration of how high impact practices such as internships and research experiences might be better integrated into a student’s educational development.« less
  7. Beyond engineering skills, today’s graduates are expected to have a number of professional skills by the time they enter the working world. Increasingly, innovation is one of the arenas where professional engineers should be adept at operating. However, in order to educate our students for contributing to innovation activities in their organizations, we need a better understanding of the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are relevant for early-career engineers in their development efforts. As a starting point to add to this understanding, we start by asking: what does meaningful engineering work look like in the eyes of early career engineers? We then go on to consider engineering work that is not only meaningful but also innovative, asking: What does innovative work look like in the eyes of early career engineers? Finally, we consider: How do innovative work and engineering work more generally compare? Based on qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews, this paper analyzes the work experiences of 13 young engineers in their first years of work after graduating from universities in the United States. Interviewee-reported critical incidents of top and bottom moments, as well as experiences in creating, advancing and implementing new ideas in work, were coded into different dimensions ofmore »learning experiences according to Mezirow’s [1] transformative learning theory in order to understand better what these experiences comprise. Many positively experienced innovation efforts were related to implementing new features or components to products or process improvements, and collaboration and feedback played an important role in these efforts. Negatively experienced innovation efforts, in contrast, were related to a lack in implementation, solutions and resources. Top and bottom moments were strongly tied to the social dimension of work: top moments were typically related to camaraderie with peers or recognition coming from managers, and bottom experiences with an absence of social connections in addition to falling short of one’s own expectations. The results suggest that managers should be cognizant of the importance of social connections and feedback cycles with their young engineers who are looking for guidance and validation of their efforts. For educators, the results highlight the importance of equipping our graduates with skills suited to navigate this active, social landscape of engineering practice. There are more challenges to tackle in today’s educational settings to prepare students for the collaboration, people-coordination, presentation, and community-building skills they will need in their professional lives.« less