ENE Faculty Member Wins NSF Early Career Award

Deborah Follman, an assistant professor of engineering education, has won the National Science Foundation's Early Career Development Award for outstanding young researchers.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a foundation-wide activity that offers NSF's prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization. CAREER awards total a minimum of $400,000 in research funding over a five-year period.

Studies have linked female undergraduates' interests, performance, and retention in engineering, science, technology, and mathematics fields to poor or inaccurate self-efficacy perceptions (i.e. beliefs about one's capabilities to produce certain effects or perform certain tasks). Follman will use her NSF grant, "Achieving Diversity in Engineering Education: Cultivating Student Self-Efficacy," to identify how engineering students' self-efficacy beliefs are influenced by environmental factors experienced in their freshman through senior years. Through a better understanding of student self-efficacy beliefs and their relationship to the engineering education environment, Follman plans to develop practices that promote student efficacy, and thus strong academic performance and high retention, for both male and female students.

NSF established the CAREER Program in 1994 in recognition of the critical roles played by faculty members in integrating research and education, and in fostering the natural connections between the processes of learning and discovery.