Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, Ed.D.



First Advisor

Julie Kalnin

LC Subjects

College student retention; Education; Women in engineering


This mixed-methods study identified factors and explored experiences that influenced the retention of women in engineering majors. This research contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of retention, specifically analyzing pre-college and college factors associated with Kerby’s conceptual framework that contribute to the development of critical engineering agency.

A survey was utilized to identify factors influencing the retention of female engineering majors in relation to male engineering majors. In addition the survey provided a way to conduct more purposive sampling for the qualitative piece of the study. Semi-structured interviews elaborated on the survey results and provided indepth insights into the topic through listening to student stories.

The pre-college and college factors and experiences combined to show the development of critical engineering agency over time and how that development influences women’s retention in engineering majors. Through the survey and interviews, the importance of representation and classroom/program climate on the retention of women in engineering majors is apparent and provides implications for practices to be implemented by high school and college administrators and faculty.


Copyright for this work is retained by the author.

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