This paper seeks to understand factors that influence how first-generation college students identify as engineers now and in the future. Data used in this study came from four U.S. institutions obtaining a total first-generation college student sample of 596 participants. We used future possible selves as a lens to understand how first-generation college students’ current views of themselves as engineers shape their future identities as engineers. Two separate analyses were conducted. First, a multiple regression analysis was used to determine which career future satisfaction variables predicted first-generation college students current and future identification as engineers. Second, a hierarchical regression analysis was used to determine which measures i.e., belongingness, interest, recognition, performance/competence, and career outcome expectations accounted for most of the variance. Analyzing first-generation college students’ response to identifying as an engineer now and in the future revealed differences in which affective and career satisfaction measures were more salient. This work begins to illustrate which factors are important for first-generation college students’ future identification as engineers and can help broaden the pathways for more students to become engineers.

Granting Agencies

EEC-1428523, EEC-1428689


first-generation college students, engineering identity, future possible selves, belonging, regression

Date of this Version


Custom Citation

Verdín, Dina & Godwin, Allison. (2018, April 13-17). First-Generation College Students Identifying as Future Engineers. Paper presented at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Retrieved from the AERA Online Paper Repository.