ECR Projects

Explore past and current fundamental STEM education research projects across the three research areas that NSF's EDU Core Research (ECR) program funds, as well as across ECR funding types. Other search filters draw from both NSF's data and the ECR Hub's hand coding of award abstracts.

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STEM Learning and Learning Environments STEM Learning and Learning Environments  Broadening Participation in STEM Broadening Participation in STEM

Broadening Participation in Engineering among Women and Latina/os: A Longitudinal, Multi-Site Study

Effective Years: 2014-2020

The project aims to investigate the longitudinal effects of social cognitive, cultural, personality and contextual factors on engineering students and workers satisfaction, engagement, and persistence as posited by Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT). The longstanding underrepresentation of White women and Latina/os in engineering majors and jobs provides the rationale for this investigation of psychological factors leading to their academic and career satisfaction, engagement, and persistence.

Using data from a sample of engineering students of nine engineering colleges, the PIs propose to test the hypothesis that SCCT model will explain significant variance in engineering-related satisfaction, engagement, persistence. SEM study of these factors will be complemented with a qualitative study of the individual and institutional factors. Intellectual merits of the project include: 1) A potentially conclusive examination of the utility of the SCCT model in predicting satisfaction, engagement, and persistence in engineering for White women and Latina/os both during college and early career stages; 2) Understanding the role of social cognitive, environmental and cultural factors in the satisfaction, engagement, and retention of White women and Latina/os in the engineering pipeline over time; 3) Advancing theory to explain engineering satisfaction, engagement, and persistence of Latina/os and White women in engineering; 4) Understanding factors influencing the persistence and non-persistence decisions of White women and Latina/o engineers; and 5) Developing reliable and valid measures to assess negative outcome expectations in engineering and engineering specific learning experiences.

Results from this work will inform the development of custom interventions to enhance relevant systemic supports and bolster the social cognitions that are the strongest predictors in engagement, persistence, and satisfaction in engineering for each group. The findings can also inform to develop supports for strategic points in students' educational training when they may be at higher risk for dropping out of engineering.