CAREER: Modeling Longitudinal Career Pathways of Engineering Doctorates by Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Discipline (NSF EEC 1653378)

This integrated research and education project examines how individual factors, institutional structures, and environmental contexts converge at the PhD level to model and explain the longitudinal career patterns of engineering PhDs. By examining whether there are differences in career paths by gender, race/ethnicity, and engineering discipline, this research project will render important contextual information for various applications, such as the creation of engineering workforce policy, development of strategies that promote a competitive engineering workforce, and ways to strengthening academic-industry partnerships. The findings will provide doctoral programs with critical and actionable information for developing and enhancing training that accounts for the realities of workforce demands and student career preferences.

Impact of Faculty Mentoring on Faculty Productivity (EFIC (ASU)/KEEN)

This research project aims to develop a conceptual framework that identifies the relationship between an entrepreneurial mindset, mentorship, and productivity among faculty. This is a mixed-methods collaborative research project with Clemson University and Arizona State University.

Access to Cooperative Education Programs and the Educational and Employment Returns by Race, Gender, and Discipline (NSF EEC 1329283)

A cooperative education program (co-op) in engineering is a partnership between an academic institution and an employer designed to engage students in practical engineering experience through rotations of full-time employment and course study. Co-op employment provides students with discipline-relevant professional experience and early entry into the engineering labor force while serving as a recruitment tool for co-op companies. While much is known about the value of cooperative education programs, relatively little is known about why there are different rates of participation by race/ethnicity and how recruitment and pre-screening practices influence the diversity of students who participate in co-op programs. The objectives of this research project are to identify factors that influence student access to cooperative education programs and to determine the educational and employment returns associated with participation. Data include comprehensive longitudinal academic student records from multiple institutions, as well as surveys and interviews of students from a large research-intensive institution. Research findings will lead to the development of strategies to further enhance co-op recruitment and engagement of engineering students from a broader range of backgrounds, interests, and experiences as a pathway to increase the overall diversity of the professional engineering labor force.

Collaborative Research: Military Veteran Students’ Pathways in Engineering Education (NSF EEC 1428646)

Military veterans hold tremendous promise for expanding and diversifying the engineering workforce. Given the diverse backgrounds of veterans, their increasing numbers, and the growing national demand for engineers, the timing is ideal to study the conditions under which veterans pursue and succeed in engineering education. Student veterans bring valuable assets to their engineering education, but more research is needed to understand their academic and social acculturation into campus life. Therefore, this project aims to (1) identify why veterans pursue bachelor's degrees in engineering, (2) illustrate veteran experiences in engineering education, and (3) advance knowledge on how academic institutions can further support veterans in engineering. This comparative case study of student veterans in engineering across four academic institutions will include interviews of student veterans and key stakeholders, as well as a content analysis of materials and websites related to student veteran issues and concerns. The interdisciplinary research team from engineering, sociology, and education brings expertise on veterans, gender, race/ethnicity, social capital, and persistence in higher education that provides a strong foundation for advancing knowledge in engineering education.

Collaborative Research: Understanding the Role of High Schools in Diversifying and Promoting Undergraduate Engineering Degree Attainment (NSF EEC 1531920)

The proportions of women, African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American students earning degrees in engineering at U.S. institutions have remained relatively stagnant in the last ten years. Yet, the United States' need for a larger and more diverse scientific and technological labor force continues to grow. Increasing the number and diversity of students pursuing engineering degrees is an important strategy to help meet the nation's workforce demands. The objective of this research project is to examine students' pathways from high school through college to determine high school level factors that predict college engineering degree attainment. Examining the role of high schools is especially critical because pre-college academic preparation is a key contributor to college academic success, and because many students tend to decide to pursue an engineering degree before applying to colleges. The results of this research have the potential to significantly advance our understanding of students' college preparation, major choice, and likelihood of graduating with an engineering degree. Key stakeholders can apply findings from this research to inform strategies and refocus educational interventions to increase female and minority students' participation in engineering.

An Engineer Like Me: How Perceived Similarity and Peer Effects Influence Student Major Choice (NSF DUE 1505006)

This Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) project will investigate the factors that influence the under-representation of female and minority students in engineering. Data from the College of Engineering at Purdue University will be used for the analyses, which provides an opportunity to examine a large population of engineering students. The project has the following objectives: (1) to investigate how students' peers and role models, both from the student and faculty populations within each major, can affect students choice of major, (2) to investigate how the messaging and information students receive in the course of choosing their major can affect which field they will enter, and (3) to establish how and why major choices change over time. The analysis will combine methods from economics and education to provide comprehensive mixed-methods analysis of how classroom environments and activities can influence student major choice. The proposed research is aimed at explaining why substantial variations in diversity exist across engineering disciplines as a function of student classroom experiences, the demographic composition of students, peers, and faculty, but also the messages that students receive regarding the values and career prospects of the different disciplines through classroom activities and interventions. The successful completion of the project will significantly complement ongoing efforts to increase recruitment efforts across engineering disciplines.

Why We Persist: An Intersectional Study to Characterize and Examine the Experience of Women Tenure-Track Faculty in Engineering (NSF ECR 1535456)

The ECR program emphasizes fundamental STEM education research that will generate foundational knowledge in the field. Investments are made in critical areas that are essential, broad and enduring: STEM learning and STEM learning environments, broadening participation in STEM, and STEM workforce development. As part of ECR, this project is funded by the Research on Gender in Science and Engineering (GSE) program. GSE seeks to understand and address gender-based differences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and workforce participation through education and implementation research that will lead to a larger and more diverse domestic STEM workforce. This collaborative project will add to fundamental research in the core area of broadening participation for all women in engineering. It will address the lack of a well-defined body of research methods, studies, and data on the intersection of race, gender, and class among all women. The project will focus on populations that include African American, Hispanic/Latina, Asian/Asian-American, Native American, White, and multiracial women in tenured faculty positions at higher education institutions within the United States. To do this work, collaborative teams of engineering educators, engineers, and social scientists at Purdue University, the Ohio State University, and Vanderbilt University will study challenges and barriers women encounter in engineering. The study will be guided by an intersectional framework that seeks to uncover why engineering faculty from these groups persist despite the challenges that face them based on race, gender, and class.