Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instruction & Curriculum Leadership

Committee Chair

Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw

Committee Member

Craig E Shepherd

Committee Member

Andrew A Tawfik

Committee Member

Stephanie S Ivey


Given the worldwide shortfall of engineers that threatens innovation and global stewardship, educators and industry must find ways to engage and prepare the next generation of engineers. To attract and train candidates to fill global needs, researchers need to expand engineering career pathway perceptions for students of all ages. Engineering education programming, whether formal or informal, not only encourages students to hone soft skills such as design thinking, communication, emotional intelligence, and evaluation but also promotes traditional technical skills. Fostering engineering self-efficacy and thus promoting engineering career pathways is an emerging area of study that has the potential to mitigate the current deficit of engineers, while simultaneously equipping future generations of problem-solvers for the workforce. Informal learning environments that incorporate authentic inquiry experiences with role models, near-peer mentors, and engineering-related connections have positively impacted engineering identity development in students of all ages. As such, the purpose of this study was to explore the impact of an informal engineering program with near-peer mentors on the mentees’ perceptions of engineering career pathways, as well as to investigate this informal engineering program’s influence on self-efficacy in elementary students. Findings indicate that the use of near-peer mentors positively impacted intervention participants in measurable outcomes as measured by the STEM Future Career Interest Survey. Near-peer mentors supported students as consultants, advisors, and helping hands.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access