Gender and Engineering Identity among Upper-Division Undergraduate Students

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2020-12-26
Authors
Hamle, Leigh C.
Roy, Arkajyoti
Scalone, Giovanna
Lee, Regina
Kaminsky, Jessica
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American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
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Poleacovschi, Cristina
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Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
Abstract
The construction industry’s long-term health depends upon continued efforts to understand historically excluded students’ attrition from engineering programs. For women, lack of identification with engineering may motivate their departure. Because professional persistence relates to engineering identity, it benefits attrition interventions to understand this identity development. Focusing upon students demonstrating some persistence in engineering, this research examines if and how engineering identity differs across gender among upper-division undergraduates. Surveying 11 American public university civil and construction engineering programs, the authors capture how central engineering is to self-concept, how positively students view engineers and perceive others to view engineers, and how students feel they belong. Using structural equation modeling, the authors find that among upper-division students and compared with cis men, cis women more strongly define themselves as engineers, are more confident of their place among fellow engineers, and feel more positively about engineers. A stronger engineering identity may help cis women cope with marginalization and may be limited to the upper-division undergraduate years. This study offers guidance for sustaining upper-division cis women’s strong engineering identity.
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This is a manuscript of the article Published as Hamlet, Leigh C., Arkajyoti Roy, Giovanna Scalone, Regina Lee, Cristina Poleacovschi, and Jessica Kaminsky. "Gender and engineering identity among upper-division undergraduate students." Journal of Management in Engineering 37, no. 2 (2021): 04020113. doi: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)ME.1943-5479.0000876. © 2020 American Society of Civil Engineers.
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