Support to Success: How Institutional Resources Foster Increased Academic Outcomes for Marginalized Students in Electrical and Computer Engineering Departments
Existing literature well documents that women and students of color are underrepresented across STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) field majors and industry positions. Women comprise 47% of the workforce yet hold only 12% of engineering jobs . Additionally, citizens who identify as Latino/a, Black, Native American, or Alaska Native together make up 27% of the U.S. population age 21 and older but hold only 11% of science and engineering positions .
Relative to other fields of engineering, electrical and computer engineering lag behind with women making up 19% and 18% of undergraduate degrees awarded, respectively. Underrepresentation of women in engineering majors and subsequent industry positions begins with an individual’s choice to pursue this career field . Difficulties in recruiting and retaining female-identified engineering students have been explained by availability, or absence, of environmental supports such as assistance in male-dominated teams  and positive relationships with advisors and mentors . Conversely, negative gender stereotypes of women’s engineering abilities deter women from entering or finishing an engineering major. For example, male-identified engineering students, when compared to their female-identified counterparts, endorsed more gender stereotypes about women, which may contribute to an unwelcoming environment . Additionally, women in engineering have reported strained relationships with their male-identified classmates , which has been cited as a common barrier in pursuing engineering and STEM occupations post-graduation [8-9]. Students who do not feel welcomed nor identify as someone in that major may pursue an alternative career path.
Schwarting, C.M., Crick, K.A., Shelley, M., Frickey, E.A., Losby, M., Larson, L.M., Support to Success: How Institutional Resources Foster Increased Academic Outcomes for Marginalized Students in Electrical and Computer Engineering Departments presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference. July 26yh-29th 2021. Virtual conference. https://peer.asee.org/38100 Posted with permission.