Work in Progress: Studying the factors affecting women recruitment and retention in engineering

Anu Osta, Jennifer Kadlowec, Miss Alissa Papernik, Amanda Ferreira Dias-Liebold

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Women in engineering face different challenges than men in engineering programs due to engineering being a male dominated field. This impacts their recruitment, retention, and future career paths. Women often face issues such as lowered sense of self-efficacy, poorer group experiences, and less stable support networks. The goal of this multi-semester study was to find the factors that help recruit and retain women engineering students. A survey was administered to about 1500 students, the approximate number of undergraduate students enrolled in the Rowan University College of Engineering. The questions focused on factors of recruitment and retention, including family life, classroom experiences, extra-curricular, specific course experiences at Rowan University (where the study was conducted), and more. These questions were designed to give insight on what gets the students to stay in engineering. Interview questions elaborating on these topics were also included. The first phase of the study involved sending the surveys to students of senior standing (approximately 400 students). Of the 66 responses received, 45% of the students surveyed were female. The second phase, sent out the same survey to all the undergraduate engineering students, and received about 260 responses with about 30% female. The results were varied across six different disciplines. The results showed that the survey participants had supportive families and friends, but lacked mentorship. There was also a high interest in the subject matter of their chosen discipline, which appeared to be the main factor. During the second phase, student interviews were conducted on those who opted for it. The interview questions were based on female student experiences while attending the university. Seventeen students were interviewed to gain knowledge of their experiences. The results identify some important factors that impact recruitment and retention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1731
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 26 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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