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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Psychological and Cognitive Sciences
written by Tara C. Dennehy and Nilanjana Dasgupta
edited by Sapna Cheryan
Scientific and engineering innovation is vital for American competitiveness, quality of life, and national security. However, too few American students, especially women, pursue these fields. Although this problem has attracted enormous attention, rigorously tested interventions outside artificial laboratory settings are quite rare. To address this gap, we conducted a longitudinal field experiment investigating the effect of peer mentoring on women's experiences and retention in engineering during college transition, assessing its impact for 1 year while mentoring was active, and an additional 1 year after mentoring had ended. Incoming women engineering students (n = 150) were randomly assigned to female or male peer mentors or no mentors for 1 year. Their experiences were assessed multiple times during the intervention year and 1-y postintervention. Female (but not male) mentors protected women's belonging in engineering, self-efficacy, motivation, retention in engineering majors, and postcollege engineering aspirations. Counter to common assumptions, better engineering grades were not associated with more retention or career aspirations in engineering in the first year of college. Notably, increased belonging and self-efficacy were significantly associated with more retention and career aspirations. The benefits of peer mentoring endured long after the intervention had ended, inoculating women for the first 2 years of college--the window of greatest attrition from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors. Thus, same-gender peer mentoring for a short period during developmental transition points promotes women's success and retention in engineering, yielding dividends over time.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Applied Research
- Recruitment
= Diversity
Education - Basic Research
- Sample Population
= Gender
- Societal Issues
= Gender Issues
- Student Characteristics
= Affect
Other Sciences
- Engineering
- Lower Undergraduate
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Administrators
- Professional/Practitioners
- Researchers
- Educators
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License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. CC BY-NC-ND
Rights Holder:
National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1613117114
Keywords:
STEM identity, STEM mentoring, engineering mentoring, gender imbalance, inclusivity
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created December 21, 2022 by Sam McKagan
Record Updated:
February 17, 2023 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
May 23, 2017
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AIP Format
T. Dennehy and N. Dasgupta, , Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 114 (23), 5964 (2017), WWW Document, (https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1613117114).
AJP/PRST-PER
T. Dennehy and N. Dasgupta, Female peer mentors early in college increase women’s positive academic experiences and retention in engineering, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 114 (23), 5964 (2017), <https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1613117114>.
APA Format
Dennehy, T., & Dasgupta, N. (2017, May 23). Female peer mentors early in college increase women’s positive academic experiences and retention in engineering. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 114(23), 5964-5969. Retrieved February 27, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1613117114
Chicago Format
Dennehy, Tara C., and Nilanjana Dasgupta. "Female peer mentors early in college increase women’s positive academic experiences and retention in engineering." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 114, no. 23, (May 23, 2017): 5964-5969, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1613117114 (accessed 27 February 2024).
MLA Format
Dennehy, Tara C., and Nilanjana Dasgupta. "Female peer mentors early in college increase women’s positive academic experiences and retention in engineering." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 114.23 (2017): 5964-5969. 27 Feb. 2024 <https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1613117114>.
BibTeX Export Format
@article{ Author = "Tara C. Dennehy and Nilanjana Dasgupta", Title = {Female peer mentors early in college increase women’s positive academic experiences and retention in engineering}, Journal = {Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA}, Volume = {114}, Number = {23}, Pages = {5964-5969}, Month = {May}, Year = {2017} }
Refer Export Format

%A Tara C. Dennehy %A Nilanjana Dasgupta %T Female peer mentors early in college increase women's positive academic experiences and retention in engineering %J Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA %E Sapna Cheryan, (ed) %V 114 %N 23 %D May 23, 2017 %P 5964-5969 %U https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1613117114 %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Journal Article %A Dennehy, Tara C. %A Dasgupta, Nilanjana %D May 23, 2017 %T Female peer mentors early in college increase women's positive academic experiences and retention in engineering %E Cheryan, Sapna %J Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA %V 114 %N 23 %P 5964-5969 %8 May 23, 2017 %U https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1613117114


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