Ed.D. Dissertation Proposal Defense: Paul C. Rafalowski

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 9:30am - 11:30am

GSE 011

Dissertation Proposal Defense

THE CAREER ASPIRATIONS OF FEMALES AND MALES IN A HIGH PERFORMING STEM-BASED CAREER ACADEMY VOCATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL

Paul is a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership concentration of the Education Doctoral program.

Committee: Dr. W. Steven Barnett (chair), Dr. Catherine Lugg, Dr. Chia-Yi Chiu

ABSTRACT

The relatively small number of female students who pursue a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career is a significant educational and social problem. This dissertation addresses aspects of the STEM education pipeline problem through a quantitative study of the career aspirations of students in a high performing STEM-based career academy vocational high school. This study examines students’ career aspirations in the context of a three-year change initiative that substantially addressed the absence of curricula pertaining to the high school’s intended engineering-focused vocational program. This study utilizes a structural equation model to analyze factors such as self-efficacy, outcome expectations, personal inputs and backgrounds, and contextual supports and/or barriers to predict gender differences in aspirations for a career in engineering, as defined by interests and goals.

This study draws upon social cognitive career theory (SCCT) as a theoretical framework and utilizes the engineering subsection of a STEM Career Interest Survey (STEM-CIS) developed by Kier, Blanchard, Osborne, and Albert (2014). Rather than advancing the numerous studies that explore the decisions made and persistence towards STEM careers during and after postsecondary levels, this study addresses the gap in the extant literature by virtue of its focus on the high school context. It is the hope to inform the research on this issue generally and to provide information that can support other high schools with similar STEM programs develop ways to reduce the gender gap in mathematics-intensive STEM fields like engineering.

     

Who to contact:

Ericka Diaz

ericka.diaz@gse.rutgers.edu