Getting the attention of underrepresented minority community college students to consider engineering as a career

Mary R. Anderson-Rowland, Armando Rodriguez, Anita E. Grierson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


In order to have more students in engineering and computer science, we need more students interested in these fields. Many community college (CC) students believe that engineering is boring and has little to do with their lives, but also admit that they know very little about engineering. Our research question is: How can we best get the attention of CC students in order for them to get engineering and computer science on their radar screen to consider as a career? In particular, we are asking if a different approach is needed for underrepresented minority students than majority students. A survey was given to 72 students (21 minority) students at one non-metropolitan CC and 159 (112 minority) students at another. In this paper, we will compare the beliefs about engineering and computer science by ethnicity within each college and across the two CCs. Results show that a higher percentage of non-minority students at the first school are interested in engineering and computer science as a career (63%) than minority students (52%) and at the second school, a higher percentage of minority students (45%) than non-minority students (35%) are interested in engineering or computer science, even if about 20% of each group admit that they really don't understand what engineering is all about. The minority students appear to be more interested in working with robotics and are more likely to believe that engineering and computer science have nothing to do with their life than do non-minority students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2015 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationLaunching a New Vision in Engineering Education, FIE 2015 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781479984534
StatePublished - Dec 2 2015
Event2015 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2015 - El Paso, United States
Duration: Oct 21 2015Oct 24 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Other2015 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityEl Paso


  • Recruitment
  • Undergraduate engineering and computer science students
  • Underrepresented Minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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