Portraits of success: A mixed-method study of the enrollment, persistence, and success experiences of female graduate engineering students at a Hispanic Serving Institution

Sandra Aguirre-Covarrubias, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

The current study addresses the underrepresentation of female graduate engineering students. Specifically, its purpose was to gain insight on how enrollment, persistence, and success factors are experienced by female graduate engineering students at a Hispanic Serving Institution located on the U.S.-Mexico border. The topic of underrepresentation of female graduate engineering students is important for higher education practitioners because in spite of the numerous attempts to increase their enrollment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, their underrepresentation has persisted. The current study is modeled after research conducted by Cordova-Wentling and Camacho (2006). The research question that guides the current study is: How have female graduate engineering students experienced a select number of enrollment, persistence, and success factors? The methodology utilized in the current study consisted of a quantitative portion and a qualitative portion. The quantitative portion included a questionnaire adapted from Cordova-Wentling and Camacho’s study (2006) and a literature review. The qualitative portion included three semi-structured focus groups with master’s level students and one-semi-structured interview with a doctoral student. Results of the study indicated a wide array of reasons why participants pursue graduate studies in engineering. The results also indicated that participants experienced a wide array of challenges during their academic programs. However, the students’ persistence and their families’ support allowed them to succeed in their respective programs. The results enabled the researcher to share recommendations to make a greater difference in the enrollment, persistence, and success of female graduate engineering students. ^

Subject Area

Education, Higher Education Administration|Women's Studies|Engineering, General|Hispanic American Studies|Education, Vocational

Recommended Citation

Aguirre-Covarrubias, Sandra, "Portraits of success: A mixed-method study of the enrollment, persistence, and success experiences of female graduate engineering students at a Hispanic Serving Institution" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3565888.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3565888

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