Engineering Workforce Development to Prepare Engineers to Address Sustainable Energy

Interdisciplinary Areas: Data and Engineering Applications, Power, Energy, and the Environment, Others

Project Description

A diverse engineering workforce is essential for U.S. competitiveness, and society needs engineers able to address sustainable energy topics. Research indicates that many graduating engineers hold significant misconceptions about climate change and most are not well prepared to address key sustainable energy issues in their careers.

This project will use mixed methods to examine supports and barriers for diverse learners in engineering education and their development to pursue academic and industrial careers focused energy production. The postdoctoral scholar will be affiliated with the Center for the Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR), a NSF Engineering Research Center focused on developing new energy resources from shale and natural gas to reduce greenhouse gases, and the preeminent School of Engineering Education. Through CISTAR, the scholar will be connected to a network of faculty and researchers across five U.S. institutions and other international partners. The research will use machine learning to systematically study large-scale surveys along with interviews of engineering undergraduates for a comprehensive understanding of ways to develop a diverse workforce prepared to address the emerging challenges in the energy sector. The results will provide particular ways in which diverse learners successfully pursue energy-related careers and highlight specific interventions for effective recruitment and retention.

Start Date


Postdoctoral Qualifications

Expected Qualifications:
PhD in Statistics, Computer Science, Engineering Education, Engineering, or related fields
Experience in quantitative research methods and data analytics
Ability to work both independently and collaboratively.

Preferred Qualifications:
An interest in engineering education and workforce development and/or an understanding of the STEM education to employment pathway.


Allison Godwin,, School of Engineering Education and Davidson School of Chemical Engineering, CISTAR Engineering Workforce Development Director,
Jeff Greeley,, Davidson School of Chemical Engineering


Shealy, T., Katz, A., & Godwin, A. (2021). Predicting engineering students’ desire to address climate change in their careers: an exploratory study using responses from a US National survey. Environmental Education Research, 27(7), 1054-1079, DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2021.1921112

Klotz, L., Potvin, G., Godwin, A., Cribbs, J., Hazari, Z., & Barclay, N. (2014). Sustainability as a route to broadening participation in engineering. Journal of engineering education, 103(1), 137-153. DOI: 10.1002/jee.20034

Drummond Oakes, M., Everett, K., Harris, M. T., Sydlik, M., & Godwin, A. (2020, June). Expanding Summer Research Programs at an NSF ERC: Innovation, Assessment, and Adaptation. In American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings, Virtual. DOI: 10.18260/1-2--34626

LiBretto, N. J., Xu, Y., Quigley, A., Edwards, E., Nargund, R., Vega-Vila, J. C., ... & Miller, J. T. (2021). Olefin oligomerization by main group Ga 3+ and Zn 2+ single site catalysts on SiO 2. Nature communications, 12(1), 1-9. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-22512-6