Gender differences in motivation to perform K12 outreach

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

Publication Date



To continue our leadership role in technological innovation, the United States is calling for 10,000 more engineering students to graduate each year. While producing more engineers is a complex systemic challenge, one of the major hurdles is the lack of students entering the pipeline to higher education in STEM fields. Outreach programs are one way to interest young people in engineering, but more engineers need to be motivated to perform outreach. Using the VIE (Valence, Instrumentality, Expectancy) motivation framework, we determine similarities and differences between women and men undergraduates in their motivation to perform K12 outreach after participating in a required outreach activity. We argue that men can be motivated to perform outreach, but for different reasons than women, and that the additional motivational factor of gender diversity results in women being currently overrepresented in performing outreach. Understanding gender differences in motivation to perform outreach could lead to enhanced engagement of both men and women in outreach and service-learning activities. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2013.

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