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What brings women to the table? Female and male students' perceptions of ways of thinking in engineering study and practice

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4 Author(s)
Deborah Kilgore ; Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE); Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching (CELT); University of Washington; kilgored@u.washington.edu ; Ken Yasuhara ; Jason J. Saleem ; Cynthia J. Atman

Women represent only one fifth of engineering bachelor's degree recipients in the U.S. This gender gap has stubbornly held for the past several years. Based on survey and interview data, this study examines the experiences and perspectives of 40 first-year women and men intending to study engineering at a public, research extensive university. We found that, regardless of gender, students view math, science, and other technical abilities as foundational in engineering. However, our findings also provide a complex picture of gender differences in the experiences and ways of thinking beginning undergraduates associate with engineering. With a more detailed understanding of what distinguishes women as early successes in the possible engineering pathways, this study provides empirical grounds for portraying engineering more broadly in order to recruit more women

Published in:

Proceedings. Frontiers in Education. 36th Annual Conference

Date of Conference:

27-31 Oct. 2006