An evaluation of the Women in Science and Engineering Summer Employment Program

Sheppard, Karen Margaret Anthony (1999) An evaluation of the Women in Science and Engineering Summer Employment Program. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

There are many factors influencing the career choices of young women. At present the combination of personal and societal issues leads both men and women into largely gender-stereotypical occupations. The WISE Summer Employment Program is one initiative designed to encourage girls to consider careers in the fields of science and engineering. Those accepted to the Program are offered positions as research assistants to work side by side with scientists and engineers for eight weeks at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Positive results from a formal evaluation could be beneficial to the WISE Program in determining the strengths of the Program and finding reliable sources of future funding. -- Since the Women In Science and Engineering Student Employment Program is designed to encourage young women to consider careers in science, engineering and related disciplines, the research questions to be addressed by this project were as follows: (1) to determine whether the program affected the career choices of young women, (2) to determine whether the program influenced the students' selection of courses in high school, and (3) to determine whether there had been a change in students' attitudes regarding careers in science, engineering and related fields and various issues related to the subject of women in science. -- The method of research planned for this study involved the interpretation of data obtained from questionnaires. In order to assess the short-term effects of the WISE Program a questionnaire was administered in person to all participants of the 1997 WISE Program on the first day of the program. A post-WISE questionnaire of the same format was administered on the final day of the program to assess any changes in educational and career plans, as well as the development of enhanced, positive attitudes towards careers in science. The same questionnaire was administered to a comparison group of girls chosen by the program coordinator as alternates for the WISE Program. These students are selected each year to replace anyone who declines the offer of a WISE position and, as such, are very similar in terms of the characteristics that the program looks for in its research assistants. -- The long-term effects of the program were evaluated by administering a questionnaire to students of the 1994 WISE Program. This probed the educational and career choices followed by these young women and looked for the presence of continued positive attitudes toward careers in science, engineering and related areas. -- The results of the analysis revealed the many strengths and positive attitudes of the young women who participated in the WISE Summer Employment Program in 1997 and 1994. The experiences and information gained from the Program appear to have given some of the participants more to consider as they attempt to choose a future career. -- All groups involved in this study showed very positive attitudes towards careers in science and engineering. Several of these attitudes were significantly enhanced after participation in the WISE Program, suggesting the value of the Program to the young women of our province.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/708
Item ID: 708
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 106-109
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1999
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: WISE Summer Employment Program; Women in science--Newfoundland and Labrador; Women in engineering--Newfoundland and Labrador

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