Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering undergraduates face unique challenges when preparing for and entering the workforce. Through the lens of Social Cognitive Career Theory, my team aims to identify and compare the supports and barriers faced by undergraduate engineering students during their career attainment processes. In this presentation, I will first share analyses of institutional data that explore gender-, ethnicity-, and major-based differences in career outcomes for undergraduate engineering students. I will then share our preliminary findings from student focus group discussions, which capture various supports and barriers students encounter when seeking internship, co-op, and full-time employment opportunities. Lastly, I will discuss how we are aiming to translate these insights into an instrument that could identify ways engineering departments and colleges may provide more individualized support to students during their career attainment processes. This work is part of an NSF Research Initiation in Engineering Formation (RIEF) award, “Research Initiation: Analyzing inequities in undergraduate workforce opportunities between biomedical and other engineering disciplines.”
Tanya M. Nocera, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Practice and the Director of Undergraduate Education in Biomedical Engineering at The Ohio State University. She is the two-time recipient of the student-voted Herman R. Weed Biomedical Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award, the OSU College of Engineering’s Ralf L. Boyer Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Engineering Innovation, and the American Society for Engineering Education Biomedical Engineering Teaching Award. Dr. Nocera’s scholarship is aimed at improving the career preparedness and career outcomes for undergraduate biomedical engineering students. Her work has been recognized as a finalist for the 2019 Best Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Paper Award of the American Society for Engineering Education, and is supported by NSF RIEF Award #1830814. Dr. Nocera is also the founder and director of a new Medical Product Development BS-MS degree program at OSU, aimed at training and supporting Biomedical Engineering students for careers in the medical product industry.