Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Committee Director

Rafael Landaeta

Committee Member

Holly Matusovich

Committee Member

Kim Bullington Sibson


Over the next ten years, the United State government forecasted a shortage of one million science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) workers. This shortage of STEM workers can adversely impact the global competitiveness and sustainability of America. Within the workforce, African Americans are grossly underrepresented. The emerging body of knowledge has derived a process by which potential engineers make be identified. There is wide recognition in the body of knowledge that developing engineers have growth mindsets; strong math and science skills; and associate in engineering communities of practice. Authors of published research also agree that parents influence their child(ren)’s career selection. While the existing body of knowledge has primarily concentrated their research on undergraduate and high-school student, little is known about adolescents as they make their career choices. This study contributes to the knowledge base by empirically assessing the link between the selection of a STEM occupation, math and science skills, parent influence and growth mindset of African American youth. Findings reveal that math and science skills are linked to the selection of a STEM occupation, while parent influence was not linked to the selection of a STEM occupation. The impact of growth mindset was inconclusive.