Pathways to Science and Engineering Professions: Persistence and Career Choice

This study is of the critical choice points in the pathway through education, into an occupation, and onto a career in science and engineering.  We propose a comprehensive analysis of how students in biosciences and engineering move through college, engage in research work experiences, and then enter and persist in S&E careers.  Although there is a great deal of research on the educational pathways of these students—of the “supply side”—less study has been conducted of the “demand side” dynamics of career choice and persistence at non-Ph.D. levels. In particular, we focus on the role of the research experience in developing scientists and engineers at the baccalaureate and masters levels. We are able to follow a large sample of these students into the workforce and, for a smaller sample, we can examine the employment and education outcomes for all science and engineering graduates.  A key component of the research will be field work in firms and colleges, examining how firms are structuring bioscience and engineering jobs and careers and how that affects the career choices and initial career trajectories.

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation.