Engineering Pathways Study

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What is the Engineering Pathways Study?

The Engineering Pathways Study (EPS) extends research findings from the Academic Pathways Study (APS) by investigating what universities and employers can do to facilitate engineering students' transition into the workforce. The goal of EPS was to find the factors or combinations of factors that facilitate the transition of engineering graduates into a professional culture, and how these factors influence engineering graduates' future careers. Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) serves as the research framework. For more information, see the EPS NSF grant.

Useful Links

EPS NSF Grant: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=1022644

PEARS website: http://pearsurvey.stanford.edu/

What are the EPS Interviews?

As a continuation of the Academic Pathways Study (APS), the Designing Education Lab helped to conduct interviews with 35 early career engineering graduates who participated in APS as students.  The interviews provide a detailed look into engineering graduates' career paths after graduation. The analysis of these interviews has resulted in a number of publications that speak to ways that both academia and industry can better prepare engineering students for the workforce.  The results of these interviews were also used by the Designing Education Lab in our development of the Pathways of Engineering Alumni Research Survey (PEARS).

What is PEARS?

The Pathways of Engineering Alumni Research Survey (PEARS) was an online survey aimed at gaining deeper understanding of how engineering majors transition from college to career. Engineering graduates from the year 2007 at four institutions were surveyed on their post-graduation experiences. The goals of the project were to identify the educational and workplace factors that most influence engineering graduates’ initial and future career plans, and to develop a better understanding of their early career work, experiences, and perspectives. The PEARS study is a direct follow up to the Academic Pathways of People Learning Engineering Survey (APPLES) conducted as part of the Academic Pathways Study (APS).

Publications from Engineering Pathways Study Data

Winters, K. E., Matusovich, H. M., & Brunhaver, S. (In progress). Engineering graduates making career choices: Family matters.

Brunhaver, S. R., Korte, R. F., Barley, S. R., & Sheppard, S. D. (Forthcoming). Bridging the gaps between engineering education and practice. In Eds. R. Freeman & H. Salzman, U.S. Engineering in the Global Economy, National Bureau of Economics Research.

Brunhaver, S., Gilmartin, S. K., Chen, H. L., Grau, M. M., Warner, M., & Sheppard, S. (2013). Not all the same: A look at early career engineers employed in different sub-occupations. Proceedings of the 2013 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA, June 23-26. (link)

Winters, K. E., Matusovich, H. M., Brunhaver, S., Chen, H. L., Yasuhara, K., & Sheppard, S. (2013). From freshmen engineering students to practicing professionals: Changes in beliefs about important skills over time. Proceedings of the 2013 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA, June 23-26. (link)

Brunhaver, S., Gilmartin, S., Chen, H., Grau, M., Warner, M., Matusovich, H., Winters, K., Carrico, C., & Sheppard, S. (2013). Differences in the work characteristics and experiences of early career engineering graduates. Paper presented in May 2013 at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting.

Brunhaver, S., Gilmartin, S., Chen, H., & Sheppard, S. (2012). Not one path fits all: Post-graduation paths of early career engineering graduates. Paper presented in October 2012 at the Association for the Study of Higher Education Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV.

Winters, K. E., Matusovich, H. M., & Carrico, C. A. (2012). So how did that go for you? Early career engineers' success in meeting goals as undergraduate seniors. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education Southeast Section Annual Conference, Starkville, MS.

Carrico, C., Winters, K., Brunhaver, S., & Matusovich, H. M. (2012). The pathways taken by early career professionals and the factors that contribute to pathway choices. Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Engineering Education Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX. (link)

Chen, H., Brunhaver, S., Gilmartin, S, Sheppard, S. (2012). Designing the deployment of the Pathways of Engineering Alumni Research Survey (PEARS). Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Engineering Education Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX. (link)

Winters, K., Matusovich, H. M., & Brunhaver, S. (2012). The impacts of economic decline on career decision making among early career engineers. Paper presented in April 2012 at the American Eductional Research Association Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Winters, K. E. (2012). Career goals and actions of early career engineering graduates. Blacksburg, Va: University Libraries, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

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