Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Education

First Advisor

Monica E. Cardella

Committee Member 1

Șenay Purzer

Committee Member 2

Morgan Hynes

Committee Member 3

Linda S. Lee

Committee Member 4

Gina N. Svarovsky


Broadening participation from a diverse set of individuals is one of the central tenets of engineering education research. Interest in a potential occupation is influenced by knowledge and familiarity as a child reaches adolescence. However, studies have shown that most children have limited information regarding engineers, and this lack of knowledge can often persist into adulthood. Parents are the predominant source of occupational information for young children, and researchers hypothesize that parents socialize their children to be predisposed to their own occupation through informal interactions such as conversations. This is highly evident in the phenomena of occupational inheritance that is prevalent within engineering families.