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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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Engineering the Future: Enhancing the Profile of Biomedical Engineers as a Socially Relevant Discipline

Description

Engineers have a strong influence on everyday lives, ranging from electronics and trains to chemicals and organs [1]. However, in the United States, there is a large knowledge gap in the roles of engineers, especially in K-12 students [2] [3].

Engineers have a strong influence on everyday lives, ranging from electronics and trains to chemicals and organs [1]. However, in the United States, there is a large knowledge gap in the roles of engineers, especially in K-12 students [2] [3]. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) recognizes the current problems in engineering, such as the dominance of white males in the field and the amount of education needed to become a successful engineer [4]. Therefore, the NAE encourages that the current engineering community begin to expose the younger generations to the real foundation of engineering: problem-solving [4]. The objective of this thesis is to minimize the knowledge gap by assessing the current perception of engineering amongst middle school and high school students and improving it through engaging and interactive presentations and activities that build upon the students’ problem-solving abilities.

The project was aimed towards middle school and high school students, as this is the estimated level where they learn biology and chemistry—key subject material in biomedical engineering. The high school students were given presentations and activities related to biomedical engineering. Additionally, within classrooms, posters were presented to middle school students. The content of the posters were students of the biomedical engineering program at ASU, coming from different ethnic backgrounds to try and evoke within the middle school students a sense of their own identity as a biomedical engineer. To evaluate the impact these materials had on the students, a survey was distributed before the students’ exposure to the materials and after that assesses the students’ understanding of engineering at two different time points. A statistical analysis was conducted with Microsoft Excel to assess the influence of the activity and/or presentation on the students’ understanding of engineering.

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2017-05

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Engineering the Future: Enhancing Diversity and Increasing Awareness of Engineering

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The purpose of this study was to utilize quantitative results gained through surveys to determine the effect of hands-on engineering activities and a poster study on improving understanding and awareness of engineering disciplines in high school students. There was a

The purpose of this study was to utilize quantitative results gained through surveys to determine the effect of hands-on engineering activities and a poster study on improving understanding and awareness of engineering disciplines in high school students. There was a focus on increasing participation of women and minorities in engineering to improve diversity, and this study utilized biomedical engineering as a means of achieving these goals. The analysis of this thesis focused on the results of the pre-assessment and post-assessment taken by a group of high school students before and after a program using presentations in combination with engineering activities tackling real-world problems. These assessments objectively ranked both the awareness and interest level in various engineering activities across a number of disciplines. The results were analyzed using percentages of the engineering statements that the students recognized as engineering and were interested in, as well as using t-tests. Statistical significance was found for the percentage of statements that the students expressed the highest interest level in between the initial and final survey. The other factors analyzed did not produce statistical significance, but the increase in interest level does meet one of the primary goals of the project. Since the percentages of all the positive factors did increase between the pre- and post- assessment, the study can be considered a success overall; more data is simply needed to indicate significance in these other factors. Future studies will focus on implementing this program as an after-school activity that can be led by members of the engineering community at ASU.

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2017-05

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Enhancing the Profile of Chemical Engineers as Relevant to Society amongst Middle School and High School Students

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The objective of this research study is to assess the effectiveness of a poster-based messaging campaign and engineering-based activities for middle school and high school students to encourage students to explore and to pursue chemical engineering. Additionally, presentations are incorporated

The objective of this research study is to assess the effectiveness of a poster-based messaging campaign and engineering-based activities for middle school and high school students to encourage students to explore and to pursue chemical engineering. Additionally, presentations are incorporated into both methods to provide context and improve understanding of the presented poster material or activity. Pre-assessments and post-assessments are the quantitative method of measuring effectiveness. For the poster campaign, ASU juniors and seniors participated in the poster campaign by producing socially relevant messages about their research or aspirations to address relevant chemical engineering problems. For the engineering-based activity, high school students participated in an Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering program "Young Engineers Shape the World" in which the students participated in six-hour event learning about four engineering disciplines, and the chemical engineering presentation and activity was conducted in one of the sessions. Pre-assessments were given at the beginning of the event, and the post-assessments were provided towards the end of the event. This honors thesis project will analyze the collected data.

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2017-05

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Drinking Water Quality and Management in Arizona

Description

Access to clean drinking water has been identified by the National Academy of Engineering as one of the Grand Challenges of the 21st century. This thesis investigated clean drinking water access in the greater Phoenix area, specifically with regards to

Access to clean drinking water has been identified by the National Academy of Engineering as one of the Grand Challenges of the 21st century. This thesis investigated clean drinking water access in the greater Phoenix area, specifically with regards to drinking water quality standards and management strategies. This research report provides an introduction to water quality, treatment, and management; a background on the Salt River Project; and an analysis on source water mix and drinking water quality indicators for water delivered to Tempe, Arizona water treatment facilities.

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2016-12

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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 Measure of Engineering Self-Efficacy & Engineering Identity in Undergraduate Students

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Self-efficacy in engineering, engineering identity, and coping in engineering have been shown in previous studies to be highly important in the advancement of one’s development in the field of engineering. Through the creation and deployment of a 17 question survey,

Self-efficacy in engineering, engineering identity, and coping in engineering have been shown in previous studies to be highly important in the advancement of one’s development in the field of engineering. Through the creation and deployment of a 17 question survey, undergraduate and first year masters students were asked to provide information on their engagement at their university, their demographic information, and to rank their level of agreement with 22 statements relating to the aforementioned ideas. Using the results from the collected data, exploratory factor analysis was completed to identify the factors that existed and any correlations. No statistically significant correlations between the identified three factors and demographic or engagement information were found. There needs to be a significant increase in the data sample size for statistically significant results to be found. Additionally, there is future work needed in the creation of an engagement measure that successfully reflects the level and impact of participation in engineering activities beyond traditional coursework.

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2021-05

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

Description

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

Description

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