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Perspectives of Women in Engineering: Becoming a Woman in STEM

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This project examines the contributions of environmental effects and role models to the overall sense of belonging and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields among women. Eleven female engineers, ranging from college freshmen, seniors, and industry members,

This project examines the contributions of environmental effects and role models to the overall sense of belonging and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields among women. Eleven female engineers, ranging from college freshmen, seniors, and industry members, were interviewed for their perspectives on how their childhoods, female engineers in media, and STEM outreach affiliations affected their career decisions to pursue engineering. Additionally, a student survey was sent to the general Arizona State University population to gauge interest in different engineering challenges. Major, gender, and first-generation status emerged as affecting factors for high interest in certain engineering challenges. As denoted by the survey, male students showed more interest in "Joy of Living" related challenges, while females were more interested in "Health" and "Sustainability" related challenges. First-generation students showed more neutral attitudes than continuing-generation towards most of the engineering challenges. Interview vignettes and survey results were analyzed to identify implications for K-12 outreach and education efforts.

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2018-05

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Project Build-A-Hero: Enhancing Biomedical Engineering as a Socially Relevant Discipline

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The goal of this research study was to empirically study a poster-based messaging campaign in comparison to that of a project-based learning approach in assessing the effectiveness of these methods in conveying the scope of biomedical engineering to upper elementary

The goal of this research study was to empirically study a poster-based messaging campaign in comparison to that of a project-based learning approach in assessing the effectiveness of these methods in conveying the scope of biomedical engineering to upper elementary school students. For the purpose of this honors thesis, this research paper specifically reflects and analyzes the first stage of this study, the poster-based messaging campaign. 6th grade students received socially relevant messaging of juniors and seniors at ASU achieving their biomedical aspirations, and received information regarding four crucial themes of biomedical engineering via daily presentations and a website. Their learning was tracked over the course of the weeklong immersion program through a pre/post assessment. This data was then analyzed through the Wilcoxon matched pairs test to determine whether the change in biomedical engineering awareness was statistically significant. It was determined that a poster-based messaging campaign indeed increased awareness of socially relevant themes within biomedical engineering, and provided researchers with tangible ways to revise the study before a second round of implementation. The next stage of the study aims to explain biomedical engineering through engaging activities that stimulate making while emphasizing design-aesthetic appeal and engineering habits of mind such as creativity, teamwork, and communication.

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2016-05

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A Synthesis of Research on the Impact of Engineering Identity on Undergraduate Women’s Persistence in Engineering

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Despite efforts to recruit and retain female engineering students, only about 21.3% of bachelor’s degrees each year in engineering and computer science are awarded to women. The purpose of this synthesis is to understand the ways in which current research

Despite efforts to recruit and retain female engineering students, only about 21.3% of bachelor’s degrees each year in engineering and computer science are awarded to women. The purpose of this synthesis is to understand the ways in which current research has explored how self-identity, engineering identity, and sense of belonging influence undergraduate women’s persistence. Analysis is focused around 4 themes that emerged: (1) Sense of Self: Self-Efficacy, Expectancy Value Theory; (2) Culture of Engineering: Engineering Identity; (3) Stereotype Threat; (4) Interdisciplinary Studies to Expand the Culture of Engineering. Conclusions of this synthesis may be used as opportunities for future engagement with these topics.

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2020-05

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An Engineering Degree is Not Enough: The Tools Necessary for Engineering Students to be Successful in a Competitive Job Market

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A survey of 133 engineering students at Arizona State University (ASU) was conducted to determine if extracurricular activities correlated to the amount of internships a student receives. The problem that ASU engineering students are having is that finding an internshi

A survey of 133 engineering students at Arizona State University (ASU) was conducted to determine if extracurricular activities correlated to the amount of internships a student receives. The problem that ASU engineering students are having is that finding an internship during college and consequently finding a job after graduation is getting more difficult due to the intense competition, not only at ASU, but at every other college and university across the globe. The literature review showed that employers are looking for more from a potential candidate besides a degree and a good GPA (Grade Point Average). Employers are looking for well-developed leadership and soft skills (Dalessio, 1989). These attributes are not always learned in the classroom and many students are under the false impression that an engineering degree alone is enough to land them a job. The survey that was conducted proved that the more engineering-related extracurricular activities a student engages in, the greater the chance of finding an internship. Similarly, a linear relationship was also found between the number of activities involved in and number of interviews received. From the literature review, relevant experience is of utmost importance to many employers. Because of this, not receiving an internship throughout college greatly lessens a students’ success finding a job after college. The survey showed male students do far less extracurricular activities according to the survey compared to females. The males from the survey had a 51% percent success rate of finding an internship compared to the 71% success rate of females. As a Peer Career Coach at ASU, students come to me far too often and far too late in their academic career with empty resumes and lack of involvement. Each and every one of these students struggle heavily to find internships and eventually jobs. This problem can easily be addressed, but students must be aware that a high GPA in an engineering degree alone will not make them competitive in the job market.

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2021-05