Interactions Between Pre-College Academic Self Concept and Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Core Program Enrollment of Undergraduate AEC Women

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Dr. Andrea, Ofori-Boadu


Business Management and Construction Management

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-2021


In addition to workforce shortages and lack of racial diversity in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, women are severely underrepresented as the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) indicated that only 2.8% of construction professionals are women. Identity theorists advocate that professional identity development (PID) could improve student persistence into professional roles. However, little is known about interactions between pre-college academic self-concepts and PID processes in undergraduate AEC women. The purpose is to examine interactions between pre-college academic self-concept and undergraduate AEC core program enrollment in undergraduate AEC women. Using purposive sampling, 40 research participants (RPs) are recruited from five U.S. institutions. Data collection involved RPs narrating their pre-college and college experiences through 40 recruitment surveys and 40 one-hour Skype interviews. Recruitment surveys and interview transcripts are coded and analyzed using the NVivo qualitative analysis software. Findings showed that early development of math, art, and science academic self-concepts in girls may be used to predict future enrollment in specific core AEC programs. Findings contribute to PID theories that can guide AEC educational program and policy development to transform the early targeting, recruitment, retention, and persistence of the next generation of AEC women. Future work involves investigating how pre-college academic self-concepts continue to interact with the progression of core AEC PID as women transition from the freshman year into senior year. Increased understanding of PID in AEC women can transform AEC educational and industrial environments and strengthen persistence into the profession. In the long term, this would in turn reduce workforce shortages, improve diversity, and foster the innovation of gender friendly AEC products and services.

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