Does EPICS as a pre-college program foster engineering identity development as correlated to doing engineering?

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Abstract

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) is a middle and high school program, supported by Arizona State University's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Tempe, Arizona, with a focus on the engineering design process and delivering real solutions to community partners [1]. In order to evaluate the efficacy of the program, a pre/post-test design was implemented to examine changes in attitudinal and behavioral measures. Pre-data were collected at the beginning of the school year and paralleled the program's registration process to ensure high response rates; post-data were then collected at the end of the school year. Demographic data demonstrate that of all 2018-2019 registered EPICS participants (N = 414), 41 percent were female; 66.6 percent were non-white; and 30 percent held first generation student status. Importantly, 68.5 percent of participants reported that neither parent or guardian is an engineer, and 65.7 percent of participants reported that they definitely will attend a four-year university. These data suggest that the current sample is ideal for evaluating EPICS as a pre-college engineering education program, because most participants are not experiencing engineering in the home but have salient intentions to attend college. In addition to collecting demographic information, participants completed a series of measures designed to capture attitudes and behaviors toward engineering as a potential career field. The main measures of interest include Engineering Identity and Doing Engineering. Engineering Identity scores reflect participants' personal and professional identities as engineers; Doing Engineering scores indicate participants' prior experience with engineering and its related technical skills. Boys reported significantly higher engineering identities (M = 37.65, SD = 6.58) compared to girls (M = 39.54, SD = 6.09), t(360) = 2.95, p =.003. Boys reported stronger and more frequent experiences with engineering, indicated by their higher Doing Engineering scores (M = 13.75, SD = 5.16), compared to girls (M = 15.31, SD = 4.69), t(368) = 3.13, p =.002. Interestingly, first generation students reported higher engineering identities (M = 37.45, SD = 6.53) compared to non-first generation students (M = 39.66, SD = 5.99), t(375) = 3.46, p =.001. To examine the relationship between Engineering Identity and Doing Engineering, a correlation analysis was conducted and a moderate, positive relationship emerged, such that as students' experience with engineering increased, their engineering identities also increased (R =.463, p >.000).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number519
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Volume2020-June
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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