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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v2.i1-2.30
pages 33-47

FRESHMEN WOMEN IN ENGINEERING: COMPARISON OF THEIR BACKGROUNDS, ABILITIES, VALUES, AND GOALS WITH SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES MAJORS

Susana Krivatsy O'Hara
Eastern Shore Associates, MA 01545, USA

ABSTRACT

This descriptive study explores why some capable women enter engineering fields while others do not. The 1992 Student Information Form (Astin, 1992) was administered to all freshmen students at an engineering college and a liberal arts college. Women respondents self selected themselves into four groups according to majors: (a) engineering, (b) science majors at the engineering college, (c) science majors at the liberal arts college, and (d) humanities majors at the liberal arts college. Variables measured included self-ratings of abilities, political orientation, the importance of goals and values, parental background information, and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize the engineer sample. Stepwise discriminant function analysis resulted in determination of variables best distinguishing among the groups. Several highly significant variables associated with correct post-hoc classification of young engineering as opposed to humanities majors were identified. Post-hoc classification accuracy was highest for these two groups. Validation of these results is proposed for future research.


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