Students' changing images of engineering and engineers

Andrew Jocuns*, Reed Stevens, Lari Garrison, Daniel Amos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


As part of a longitudinal study of engineering students on four campuses spanning four years, students were asked questions each year about their images of the work of engineers. Such questions included: what do you expect to do on a day-to-day basis, how did you become interested in engineering, what are the characteristics that make a good engineer, and others. In responses to such questions students described how they imagined engineering workplaces and the work of engineering. We found that students in their first year of preparation to become engineers knew little about what kind of work they would be doing in the future as engineers. That is, they developed hopeful images of engineering. In some cases these images were altered or augmented in later years to become more mundane. For some students images from the first year remained virtually unchanged into their fourth year. Our discussion reflects how students' identities are affected both by common, widely circulating images of engineering and the absence of real workplace experiences in the undergraduate engineering education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Event2008 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Pittsburg, PA, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2008Jun 24 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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