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Understanding and Predicting Persistence in First Year Engineering Students

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Based on James Marcia's theory, identity development in youth is the degree to which one has explored and committed to a vocation [1], [2]. During the path to an engineering identity, students will experience a crisis, when one's values and

Based on James Marcia's theory, identity development in youth is the degree to which one has explored and committed to a vocation [1], [2]. During the path to an engineering identity, students will experience a crisis, when one's values and choices are examined and reevaluated, and a commitment, when the outcome of the crisis leads the student to commit to becoming an engineer. During the crisis phase, students are offered a multitude of experiences to shape their values and choices to influence commitment to becoming an engineering student. Student's identities in engineering are fostered through mentoring from industry, alumni, and peer coaching [3], [4]; experiences that emphasize awareness of the importance of professional interactions [5]; and experiences that show creativity, collaboration, and communication as crucial components to engineering. Further strategies to increase students' persistence include support in their transition to becoming an engineering student, education about professional engineers and the workplace [6], and engagement in engineering activities beyond the classroom. Though these strategies are applied to all students, there are challenges students face in confronting their current identity and beliefs before they can understand their value to society and achieve personal satisfaction. To understand student's progression in developing their engineering identity, first year engineering students were surveyed at the beginning and end of their first semester. Students were asked to rate their level of agreement with 22 statements about their engineering experience. Data included 840 cases. Items with factor loading less than 0.6 suggesting no sufficient explanation were removed in successive factor analysis to identify the four factors. Factor analysis indicated that 60.69% of the total variance was explained by the successive factors. Survey questions were categorized into three factors: engineering identity as defined by sense of belonging and self-efficacy, doubts about becoming an engineer, and exploring engineering. Statements in exploring engineering indicated student awareness, interest and enjoyment within engineering. Students were asked to think about whether they spent time learning what engineers do and participating in engineering activities. Statements about doubts about engineering to engineering indicated whether students had formed opinions about their engineering experience and had understanding about their environment. Engineering identity required thought in belonging and self-efficacy. Belonging statements called for thought about one's opinion in the importance of being an engineer, the meaning of engineering, an attachment to engineering, and self-identification as an engineer. Statements about self-efficacy required students to contemplate their personal judgement of whether they would be able to succeed and their ability to become an engineer. Effort in engineering indicated student willingness to invest time and effort and their choices and effort in their engineering discipline.

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2018-05

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SAVE ANVORUNA: THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL RELEVANCE IN COMPUTER SYSTEMS ENGINEERING

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The goal of this research study was to empirically study the effects of a project based learning activity. The effectiveness of this study was benchmarked according to two results: the effectiveness in communicating the scope and impact of engineering, and

The goal of this research study was to empirically study the effects of a project based learning activity. The effectiveness of this study was benchmarked according to two results: the effectiveness in communicating the scope and impact of engineering, and the effectiveness in increasing interest in computer systems engineering (CSE). This research report presents an analysis of the effects of making engineering education socially relevant, interesting and accessible. High school students participated in a learning experience in which they designed flood evacuation systems that could warn a city of incoming floods. Both pre-assessments and post-assessments were implemented to capture students' awareness of engineering tasks and their interest levels in engineering tasks. Data on students' perceptions of specific engineering tasks were analyzed quantitatively through Wilcoxon signed-rank testing and determined that the program had significant positive effects on developing more accurate conceptions of engineering tasks. The results relating to student interest in CSE indicated that there was an increased level of interest in CSE engineering tasks after the program. There was a 14% increase in number of students who found engineering tasks interesting from 64% to 78%. However, as participants self-selected to participate in this learning experience, many students had positive perceptions of engineering tasks prior to engaging in the learning experience. This study was successful and met both of its primary goals of enhancing awareness and interest in engineering in this particular group of high school students.

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2017-05

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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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Expanding Science Experiments to Incorporate Engineering Curriculum for College Ready Students from Nontraditional Backgrounds

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Engineering has historically been dominated by White men. However, in modern history, engineering is becoming more diverse as the opportunity to pursue engineering has become accessible to people of all races and genders. Yet, college ready high school students from

Engineering has historically been dominated by White men. However, in modern history, engineering is becoming more diverse as the opportunity to pursue engineering has become accessible to people of all races and genders. Yet, college ready high school students from nontraditional backgrounds—women, ethnic minorities, first-generation-to-college students, and those with financial need—often lack exposure to engineering, thus reducing their likelihood to pursue a career in this field. To create engineering learning experiences that can be expanded to a traditional high school science classroom, the Young Engineers Shape the World program at Arizona State University was consulted. The Young Engineers Shape the World program encourages women, notably the most underrepresented group in the engineering field, as well as other students of diverse backgrounds, to pursue engineering. The goal of this effort was to create a 3-contact hour chemical engineering based learning experience to help students in grades 10-11 learn about an application of chemical engineering. Using knowledge of chemical engineering, a soil pH testing activity was created, simulating a typical high school chemistry science experiment. In addition to measuring pH, students were asked to build a modern garden that contained a physical barrier that could protect the garden from acid rain while still allowing sunlight to reach the plant. Student feedback was collected in the form of an experience evaluation survey after each experience. Students found that the soil-moisture quality testing and design of a protective barrier was engaging. However, an iterative curriculum redesign-implement-evaluate effort is needed to arrive at a robust chemical engineering based design learning experience.

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2019-05

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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