Engineering role identity fosters grit differently for women first- And continuing-generation college students

Dina Verdín, Allison Godwin, Adam Kirn, Lisa Benson, Geoff Potvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study examined two distinct groups of women in engineering (i.e., first-generation and continuing-generation college students) to understand how the engineering role identity constructs of interest, recognition, and performance/competence fostered grit-perseverance of effort and grit-consistency of interest. A survey was administered to first-year engineering students at four institutions across the United States. The sample of women was n=675, from which n=144 were identified as first-generation college students and n = 531 were identified as continuing-generation college students. Using existing instruments, two structural equation models were created to test the relationships between engineering role identity constructs and grit. The model of first-generation college students had high interest in engineering, which, in turn, was predictive of their grit-consistency of interest, while their beliefs about performing well and understanding engineering content was predictive of their grit-perseverance of effort. In the model of continuing-generation college students, being recognized as someone that can do engineering was predictive of grit-perseverance of effort while seeing oneself as an engineer was predictive of their grit-consistency of interest. The results of this work highlight different aspects of identity that may foster grit for women in engineering depending upon their parents' level of education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1037-1051
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Engineering role identity
  • First-generation college students
  • Grit
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Engineering role identity fosters grit differently for women first- And continuing-generation college students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this