Confidence in Pursuing Engineering: How First-Generation College Students' Subject-Related Role Identities Supports their Major Choice

Dina Verdin, Allison Godwin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This full research category paper examines how first-generation college students' mathematics and physics identity support the development of an engineering identity and how the three STEM identities support students' commitment to choose an engineering major. This study focuses on first-year, first-generation college students in engineering (n=616). The purpose of only focusing on first-year students was to understand how their decision to pursue engineering is shaped before engaging in engineering or college coursework. Structural equation modeling was used to test direct and indirect paths of students' STEM identities on engineering major commitment. First-generation college students' perceptions of themselves as capable and interested mathematics learners supported their views of themselves as capable physics and engineering learners. Forming an identity as a math and physics person supported the development of an engineering identity. First-generation college students' engineering identity supported their confidence of choosing an engineering major. However, female and Latinx first-generation college students were less likely to see themselves as physics people. Female first-generation college students were also less confident about their choice to pursue engineering. The findings elucidate the difference each subject-related role identities have on first-generation college students' developing engineering identity and confidence in their major choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2021 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781665438513
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Event2021 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2021 - Lincoln, United States
Duration: Oct 13 2021Oct 16 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
Volume2021-October
ISSN (Print)1539-4565

Conference

Conference2021 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLincoln
Period10/13/2110/16/21

Keywords

  • engineering identity
  • first-generation college students
  • mathematics identity
  • physics identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications

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