Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Engineering


Olga Pierrakos


Women are underrepresented in engineering, with 18-20% of engineering students being women1. We, therefore, used the framework of identity theory and self-concept differentiation to better understand female and male engineering student retention. An exploratory approach is used to measure freshman and senior engineering students’ personality and authenticity of personality across engineering and non-engineering contexts. First, we found personality profiles among engineering freshmen and seniors in engineering settings, and then compared them to their personality in nonacademic settings for authenticity purposes. Big 5 Personality and Authenticity scale were methods used through a survey to determine personality and authenticity in engineering and non-engineering environments for participants collected of their academic level and gender. Our results found that engineering students described themselves as agreeable (i.e. trusting), conscientious (i.e. reliable), and open to experiences (i.e. curious). We also found that freshman female engineering students have higher extraversion levels than seniors, and that senior females had the greatest variation of personality and authenticity between engineering and non-engineering settings. Understanding the impact identity, personality, and authenticity has on engineering students will benefit how we perceive students in and out of engineering and how that affects their persistence.



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