Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings






Engineering colleges are concerned about retention of women, especially women of color, in their programs. One possible solution is to promote undergraduate women's engineering identity. This paper describes an evaluation of a one-day technical and professional development conference for undergraduate women in engineering and computer science, which focused on understanding and facilitating engineering identity. Data on the impact of the conference and engineering identity, were collected in pre- and post-conference surveys. The pre-conference survey assessed demographic information (e.g., first generation status, ethnicity), engineering student identity (i.e., commitment to engineering major; engineering competence, and engineering agency), social support, and reasons for attending. The post-conference survey assessed engineering student identity, ratings of self- and engineer creativity, professional identity, and evaluations of the conference. 193 participants returned pre-conference surveys and 103 returned post-conference surveys. Most were engineering (54%) and computer science (38%) majors; 46% were Asian, 28% LatinX; and 65% received financial aid. Correlations, MANOVA, regression, and content analyses were used to analyze the data. Participants reported the conference was highly valuable. Both pre- and post-conference surveys revealed positive associations between commitment, competence, and agency, suggesting that undergraduate women view their engineering identities as a coherent set. Results indicated that the strength of a participant' professional identity is shaped by first-generation status and knowing an engineer. They also indicated that women undergraduates do not rate themselves as being as creative as a typical engineer, and there is a strong association between self-ratings of creativity and professional identity. Engineering identity is discussed in the context of participants' reported goals for the conference and its benefits. Suggestions for promoting engineering identity are described.

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Science Foundation


© 2020 American Society for Engineering Education


General Engineering