2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Lay of the Land: Professional Identity in Our Student Body

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Eric Jankowski and Dr. Krishna Pakala


This poster will analyze the professional identity of students in the College of Engineering at Boise State University. Beginning with an initial study of third year Materials Science students in partnership with the Story Collider podcast, it was observed that students better related to their degree after writing and sharing a personal story relating to materials science. The Story Collider shares true stories about science and does so through live shows, their weekly podcast, and workshops. In this next stage of the study, the analysis of engineering professional identity is being expanded to all majors in the College of Engineering. In this work we describe the design and preliminary results from our new survey instrument, created to understand student professional identities through the lenses of recognition, subject interest, confidence, their definition of an “engineer”, and demographic aspects as well. We describe patterns of challenges and successes in developing personal stories that have arisen across four years of storytelling workshops with engineering students and faculty. This study will also analyze the impact of storytelling assignments in a population of second-year Mechanical Engineering students and will explain how storytelling impacted different aspects of their professional identity.

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