Date of Award

Summer 2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

STEM and Professional Studies

Committee Director

Cynthia Tomovic

Committee Director

Darryl Draper

Committee Member

Tisha Paredes

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to validate data collected between 2009-2013 via an instrument used to assess middle school girls’ identification with and interest in engineering and technology following the Society of Women Engineers’ WOW events. Recognizing the importance of measuring the impact of such mentored E & T activities on young females’ attitudes about and interest in STEM, and more specifically, engineering and technology, SWE outreach experts developed a participant survey based on event objectives and domain knowledge, but never rigorously examined whether it produced statistically valid data that could be used to draw inferences about girls’ propensity to enter the field, essentially a priming factor for future engagement.

Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, the survey data evaluated in this study (N = 332) successfully validated a four factor latent construct, albeit not precisely as proposed with respect to item loading. Longitudinal use of such a validated tool could provide reliable data to better predict female engagement. It also establishes a jumping-off point for additional discourse and research on the effects of mentored E & T activities on female engagement in male-dominated career fields such as engineering and technology.

ISBN

9781339345659

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