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Research Questions

As more students than ever are pursuing and earning an engineering bachelor’s degree in the U.S., questions about their post-graduation pathways are increasing. EMS was designed to examine the following questions:

  • What are the school-to-work pathways for today's engineering students?
  • Which skills have they developed? How are they applying these skills?
  • What are their career interests and goals?
  • How do these interests and goals change over time?
  • Are they designing—and leading—technological and social innovations?
  • Which educational and workplace environments/experiences influence the development of their innovation and entrepreneurial interests, abilities, and achievements?
  • Which college experiences are associated with their confidence to innovate, their technical accomplishments, their creative breakthroughs?

 

The many topics that EMS analysts are currently studying include:

  • Learning experiences in college that are associated with students' innovation, entrepreneurship, and engineering interests, goals, and outcomes
  • The role of self-efficacy in engineering students' academic and professional pathways - specifically, their innovation self-efficacy and their engineering task self-efficacy
  • The role of mindfulness in engineering students' innovation self-efficacy and innovation goals
  • Engineering students' entrepreneurship-related career goals, and their degree of certainty in career pathways as they move into the workforce
  • The characteristics of engineering students' job search processes and outcomes as they transition from school to work
  • The characteristics of engineering students' first work experiences after graduation, with particular focus on the associations between gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic background, position/organizational role, firm type and location, "challenging assignments" at work, the types of innovation and engineering work that they are doing on a day-to-day basis, and job satisfaction
  • Engineering students' interests in pursuing work that has social entrepreneurship and/or commercial profitability elements
  • Survey methodologies themselves, e.g., surveys as "interventions" for action and surveys as reflection opportunities for students

This work collectively involves longitudinal survey data, open-ended responses provided on the EMS surveys, and synergistic one-on-one, in-depth interviews conducted with a subset of survey respondents.