Presentation Title

NSF S-STEM STEER Undergraduate Perceptions of Career Expectations

Faculty Mentor

Barbara Gonzalez

Start Date

23-11-2019 10:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 10:45 AM

Location

143

Session

poster 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

education

Abstract

Increasing the number of undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is a challenge for postsecondary institutions. Undergraduate students believe that they are not qualified to enter the workforce after obtaining an undergraduate degree in STEM (Graham, Frederick, Byars-Winston, Hunter & Handelsman, 2013). Studies indicate that implementing programs that offer scholarships, work towards fostering skills that go beyond academic qualifications, and expose students to the workforce, have positive effects on students’ self-efficacy and persistence in STEM (Thiry, Laursen & Hunter, 2011). This study explored NSF S-STEM STEER students’ perceptions of their career expectations five or ten years in the future. Research questions explores were: 1) What common themes emerge from responses to an interview of undergraduates accepted into an NSF S-STEM program regarding their career expectations in STEM? 2) What is the frequency of the common emergent themes as aligned with the three major factors of Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory among STEER student responses at an entry interview? 3) In an online annual survey, what is the median level of agreement in a Likert Scale rating among STEER students regarding their expectations completing a STEM degree and for success in a bioscience career? 4) Is there any evidence of qualitative change in STEER student perceptions of persistence and career expectations in STEM? Data were collected in the context of oral entry interviews and an online annual program survey. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and coded for emergent themes. The emergent theme responses were subsequently analyzed. Eleven emergent themes were identified from the responses and found to align with the three major factors of Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory; personal, behavioral and environmental. Personal and behavioral themes were most frequent in students’ ideas on career development. The qualitative data collected from the annual online survey suggests that students feel very confident about earning a degree in STEM and being successful in their career of choice. The entry interviews and online annual survey reveal that students have not changed their perceptions of career expectations while participating in the NSF S-STEM Scholar program. This study is a preliminary means of contributing to a gap in the literature regarding factors that affect preparation and persistence when for those entering the STEM work force directly after the bachelor’s degree.

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Nov 23rd, 10:00 AM Nov 23rd, 10:45 AM

NSF S-STEM STEER Undergraduate Perceptions of Career Expectations

143

Increasing the number of undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is a challenge for postsecondary institutions. Undergraduate students believe that they are not qualified to enter the workforce after obtaining an undergraduate degree in STEM (Graham, Frederick, Byars-Winston, Hunter & Handelsman, 2013). Studies indicate that implementing programs that offer scholarships, work towards fostering skills that go beyond academic qualifications, and expose students to the workforce, have positive effects on students’ self-efficacy and persistence in STEM (Thiry, Laursen & Hunter, 2011). This study explored NSF S-STEM STEER students’ perceptions of their career expectations five or ten years in the future. Research questions explores were: 1) What common themes emerge from responses to an interview of undergraduates accepted into an NSF S-STEM program regarding their career expectations in STEM? 2) What is the frequency of the common emergent themes as aligned with the three major factors of Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory among STEER student responses at an entry interview? 3) In an online annual survey, what is the median level of agreement in a Likert Scale rating among STEER students regarding their expectations completing a STEM degree and for success in a bioscience career? 4) Is there any evidence of qualitative change in STEER student perceptions of persistence and career expectations in STEM? Data were collected in the context of oral entry interviews and an online annual program survey. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and coded for emergent themes. The emergent theme responses were subsequently analyzed. Eleven emergent themes were identified from the responses and found to align with the three major factors of Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory; personal, behavioral and environmental. Personal and behavioral themes were most frequent in students’ ideas on career development. The qualitative data collected from the annual online survey suggests that students feel very confident about earning a degree in STEM and being successful in their career of choice. The entry interviews and online annual survey reveal that students have not changed their perceptions of career expectations while participating in the NSF S-STEM Scholar program. This study is a preliminary means of contributing to a gap in the literature regarding factors that affect preparation and persistence when for those entering the STEM work force directly after the bachelor’s degree.