How do university engineering graduates influence high school students through mentoring programs

Gow, Ingrid and Wandel, Andrew P. (2014) How do university engineering graduates influence high school students through mentoring programs. In: 25th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2014): Engineering the Knowledge Economy: Collaboration, Engagement and Employability , 8-10 Dec 2014, Wellington, New Zealand.


CONTEXT: The participation rate of female students in the fields of engineering is disappointingly low. Mentoring is suggested as an effective mechanism in improving female participation in engineering through changing attitudes towards engineering. The work of Woelfel and Haller (1971) outlined by Sjaastad (2012) defines attitude as the relationship between the individuals concept of self and that of the object. This paper explores how mentors influence the concept of self and the concept of the object.
PURPOSE OR GOAL: The aim of this particular intervention is to improve female participation using mentoring to change the negative attitudes held about engineering and to understand how this is attitudinal change is achieved. Given the gender differences between the attitudes of boys to girls to engineering, a further question arises: are there differences as to how mentors influence each group?
APPROACH: Female university engineering undergraduates were recruited to become mentors and received a short course in mentoring. Mentors were placed in both co-educational and single sex schools working with Physics and Science teachers. On completion of the mentoring the mentees filled out a survey instrument developed by Jorgen Sjaastad. This instrument defines four modes of influence. Upon analysing the responses it is possible to determine which mode of influence has the greatest positive response and whether there are any gender differences between the responses.
ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED OUTCOMES: Mentors will be able to focus on the mode of influence which will achieve the greatest positive response for girls and boys. This could be incorporated into the mentor training with strategies of how to achieve this during mentoring in the classroom.
CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS/SUMMARY: All of the mentees principally found the mentoring useful in Modelling the self (mentors showing how it is possible to engage with engineering). The girls also found that the mentors were useful in helping them Define the object, while the boys found this to be the lowest contribution of the mentors. These results can be used to train future mentors to maximise their impact on the high school students in the classroom.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Australasian Association for Engineering Education 2014. These proceedings are copyright. Apart from fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without the written permission of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2015 23:06
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2017 04:48
Uncontrolled Keywords: mentoring; attitudinal change; STEM; high school; women in engineering; higher education research
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130305 Educational Counselling
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130106 Secondary Education
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970109 Expanding Knowledge in Engineering
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

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