Engineering Pathways Study

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What is the Engineering Pathways Study?

The Engineering Pathways Study (EPS) extends research findings from the Academic Pathways Study (APS) by investigating what universities and employers can do to facilitate engineering students' transition into the workforce. The goal of EPS was to find the factors or combinations of factors that facilitate the transition of engineering graduates into a professional culture, and how these factors influence engineering graduates' future careers. Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) serves as the research framework. For more information, see the EPS NSF grant.

Useful Links

EPS NSF Grant:

PEARS website:

What are the EPS Interviews?

As a continuation of the Academic Pathways Study (APS), the Designing Education Lab helped to conduct interviews with 35 early career engineering graduates who participated in APS as students.  The interviews provide a detailed look into engineering graduates' career paths after graduation. The analysis of these interviews has resulted in a number of publications that speak to ways that both academia and industry can better prepare engineering students for the workforce.  The results of these interviews were also used by the Designing Education Lab in our development of the Pathways of Engineering Alumni Research Survey (PEARS).

What is PEARS?

The Pathways of Engineering Alumni Research Survey (PEARS) was an online survey aimed at gaining deeper understanding of how engineering majors transition from college to career. Engineering graduates from the year 2007 at four institutions were surveyed on their post-graduation experiences. The goals of the project were to identify the educational and workplace factors that most influence engineering graduates’ initial and future career plans, and to develop a better understanding of their early career work, experiences, and perspectives. The PEARS study is a direct follow up to the Academic Pathways of People Learning Engineering Survey (APPLES) conducted as part of the Academic Pathways Study (APS).

What are the School Reports?

Publications from Engineering Pathways Study Data

Winters, K., & Matusovich, H. M. (Under Review). Career Goals and Actions of Early Career Engineering Graduates. Journal of Engineering Education. ASEE Winters, K. E., H. M. Matusovich, and C. A. Carrico. So How Did That Go For You? Early Career Engineers' Success in Meeting Goals set as Undergraduate Seniors. 2012. American Society for Engineering Education-SouthEast Section Annual Conference.

Starkville, MS. Carrico, C., Winters, K., Brunhaver, S., & Matusovich, H. M. The Pathways Taken by Early Career Professionals and the Factors that Contribute to Pathway Choices. 2012. American Society for Engineering Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, San Antonio, TX.;jsessionid=6838e9t431ofd?url=file%3A%2F%2Flocalhost%2FE%3A%2Fsearch%2Fconference%2FAC2012%2F3832.pdf&index=conference_papers&space=129746797203605791716676178&type=application%2Fpdf&charset=

Chen, H., Brunhaver, S., Gilmartin, S, Sheppard, S. Designing the Deployment of the Pathways of Engineering Alumni Research Survey (PEARS). 2012. American Society for Engineering Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, San Antonio, TX.

Samantha Brunhaver, Shannon GIlmartin, Helen Chen, Sheri Sheppard. Not One Path Fits All: Post-Graduation Paths of Early Career Engineering Graduates. 2012. Paper to be presented at ASHE, Oct. 2012.

Winters, K., Matusovich, H. M., & Brunhaver, S. The Impacts of Economic Decline on Career Decision Making among Early Career Engineers. 2012. Paper presentation in April 2012 at the American Eductional Research Association, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Books or other non-periodical, one-time publications

Winters, K. E. Career goals and actions of early career engineering graduates. 2012. Blacksburg, Va: University Libraries, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

S. Brunhaver, Russ Korte, Sheri Sheppard, Steve Barley. Bridging the Gaps between Engineering Education and Practice. NBER--The U.S. Labor Market for Engineers in the Global Economy. 2012

Sheri Sheppard, Shannon Gilmartin, Anthony Antonio, Helen Chen, Samantha Brunhaver. Educating education and Career Determinants of New Engineers/Students. NBER--The U.S. Labor Market for Engineers in the Global Economy. 2012.

Sheri Sheppard, Samantha Brunhaver, Shannon Gilmartin, Anthony Antonio. Beliefs and evidence about engineering careers (working title).Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research (CHEER). 2012.

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