Dr. David Delaine awarded $200k grant from NSF

Posted: August 3, 2018

Dr. David Delaine, assistant professor, engineering education department (EED), is the co-PI on the newly funded $200k project by the National Science Foundation (NSF) - Research Initiation in Engineering Formation (RIEF). Tanya Nocera, assistant professor of practice, biomedical engineering (BME) is leading the project as the principal investigator (PI). Dr. Delaine is also joined by Alexis Ortiz-Rosario, assistant professor of practice in BME, who is also a co-PI on the project.

The two-year study, "Research Initiation: Analyzing inequities in undergraduate workforce opportunities between biomedical and other engineering disciplines,” starts September 1, 2018 and ends August 31, 2020.                                 


Biomedical Engineering majors have been shown to exhibit higher rates of transfer to different engineering majors, lower rates of internship and career employment offers, and lower average starting salary compared to other engineering majors. These inequities in undergraduate workforce opportunities are having adverse effects on the professional formation of Biomedical Engineers. This study seeks to initiate a characterization of the challenges in the university-to-industry pipeline through investigating workforce opportunity between BME and three other engineering majors at The Ohio State University. Undergraduate BME programs commonly have a high percentage of female students, therefore identifying inequities, improving retention, and maintaining appropriate pathways into the workforce is required. This research provides context upon which equality can be furthered, as well as establishes foundations upon which further work can inform interventions designed to mitigate negative impacts.

Through a theoretical lens of Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) a multivariate regression analysis is implemented on existing data to compare different factors of undergraduate workforce opportunity and student profiles.  Through SCCT, student self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and contextual supports and barriers that influence students' interests in their chosen engineering majors and post-graduation plans are investigated. A validated, transferable survey tool is established by adapting existing SCCT measures and adapting the model of career choice to the problem domain of undergraduate engineering workforce opportunity. Self-efficacy, outcome expectation, and supports and barriers are the SCCT constructs that will comprise the independent variables within the developed assessment tool. Existing instruments will be adapted and validated for each of these constructs to provide insight into students’ interests (dependent variable) in engineering major and post-graduation plans.

Congratulations Dr. Delaine and team!