ERIC Number: ED217778
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-May
Reference Count: N/A
College Women Pursuing Careers in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering in the 1970s.
McNamara, Patricia P.; Scherrei, Rita A.
The characteristics and persistence of young women who entered college during the 1970s and expressed an interest in science, math, and engineering (SME) are examined. The study design includes: (1) trend analysis of changes in characteristics of the science-oriented freshman pool from 1971-1979; (2) a longitudinal study of the educational and occupational choices of 7,000 members of the freshman class of 1971 over an 8-year period; and (3) interviews with 30 professional women in scientific and technical fields. Four success measures were considered: planning at the time of college entry to pursue a SME major or career; earning a bachelor's degree in one of these fields; pursuing a related graduate degree; and (4) being employed in a SME-related professional field. A longitudinal analysis of graduation with a science degree, predictors of undergraduate success, family background, and marital and parental background are presented, and a profile of the interview sample is given. Reinforcers of an orientation toward science and math are identified, such as high school advising, role models, and research exposure. Higher education decisions and experiences during undergraduate years, graduate study, and professional study are then discussed, followed by an examination of choosing and pursuing careers (developing career awareness, the labor market, work experiences, and career goals). Barriers to scientific and technical fields are considered. Among the conclusions offered are: minority women are underrepresented in careers in science and engineering; engineering is more popular among women than science-related careers; and a strong high school background is reported among most respondents. Appendices include: CIRP Freshman Survey Form for 1971; HERI 1980 Follow-up Survey; and the interview protocol. (LC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Higher Education Research Inst., Inc., Los Angeles, CA.