Contribution: The current study finds that female-identified students report stronger associations between 'helping others' and interest in bioengineering/biomedical engineering than non-females, while they report less interest in electrical and computer engineering overall, with similar associations to factors such as 'inventing/designing things' than non-females. Background: While women have made gains in STEM, electrical and computer engineering programs award 13% of their Bachelor's degrees to women while bioengineering/biomedical engineering programs award over 40%. Prior work suggests that women's persistent under-representation in electrical and computer engingeering may be due to them being drawn into other disciplines. Women persist in engineering at similar rates as men, so a better understanding of early college attitudes is needed. Research Questions: 1) How are career outcome expectations associated to electrical engineering, computer engineering, and bioengineering/biomedical engineering? 2) What are females' interests in electrical engineering, computer engineering, and bioengineering/biomedical engineering? 3) Are outcome expectations and major interests distinct for female-identified students? Methodology: Regression analyses were conducted on multiply-imputed data of introductory engineering students at four public universities in the U.S. Findings: Students associate inventing/designing things and 'developing new knowledge and skills' to electrical engineering, and associate inventing/designing things and 'working with people' (negative) to computer engineering. Students associate helping others and 'supervising others' (negative) to bioengineering/biomedical engineering. Female-identified students are less interested in electrical and computer engineering, more interested in bioengineering/biomedical engineering, and associate helping others to bioengineering/biomedical engineering more strongly.
- Biomedical engineering
- computer engineering electrical engineering
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering