YOUNG WOMEN'S VIEWS OF CAREERS IN SCIENCE, ENGINEERING, AND TECHNOLOGY: I LIKED SCIENCE, BUT NOW WHAT DO I DO?
Madill, H.M., Armour, M.A., Ciccocioppo, A.L., Montgomerie, T.C. and Stewin, L.L., University of Alberta, Canada
During the past the emphasis has been on recruiting young women into careers in science, engineering and technology while little attention appears to have been given to retention. Results of two longitudinal studies in which young women's progress was tracked from Grade 11 through the completion of their first post-secondary education qualification suggest that: early field selection needs to be reinforced if they are to be converted into a career choice, industrial internship and co-op program experiences are powerful determinants of career choice. In addition negative summer employment experiences related to the field of study quickly lead to changes in field choice or career goals. The risk of under- employment in non-traditional fields appears to be high in comparison to their male counterparts given the experiences reported by some of these participants. Upon entering post-secondary education their expectation of equity in the work place was high, unfortunately this was often not the case in the technical, engineering and scientific fields they had initially selected. Educating bright, competent, young women in these fields only to have them move into areas that are more inviting is costly. The perceptions of young women as they reflected upon their educational experiences and the impact that they report these experiences have had on their career decision- making will be presented. Implications for the recruitment, utilization and retention of recent graduates in these fields will be discussed.