Investigating the perceptions held by University students of professional scientists and engineers

Helen Hooper, Jenna Tudor

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


There is an international deficit of scientists and engineers. For example, a 2012 report indicates that training at current rates will result in a 1,000,000 shortfall to meet workforce demands across the next decade just in the US. Such reports call for increased training but also highlight an imperative to develop better retention strategies to help close this formidable gap, especially for women, who remain underrepresented within many fields of science and engineering. We focussed on identifying on retention issues at level 4 and post graduate employment. In order to enhance induction/ transition support for first year students and develop better career/ FE support we investigated what students understood about the activities that professional scientists/ engineers engage with routinely. Students at 3 regional HEIs on a range of STEM programmes were challenged to articulate their understanding of what professional scientists/ engineers routinely do, along with providing information about pre entry motivations for choice of subject/ university course, post graduate study/ career aspirations and parental/ carer occupation. Students were also asked to complete a ‘Draw a Scientist/ Engineer’ task and the visual images drawn were analysed for gender and level of stereotype. The data reveals a range of misconceptions, including gender biased stereotypes. Aspects of the data will be discussed, along with implications for practice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2014
EventAnnual Regional Learning and Teaching Conference 2014 - Durham
Duration: 27 Mar 2014 → …


ConferenceAnnual Regional Learning and Teaching Conference 2014
Period27/03/14 → …


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