University of Twente Student Theses


The professional identity of STEM-students

Veldhorst, C. (2016) The professional identity of STEM-students.

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Abstract:Although more and more students choose for a technical study, not all these students choose for a technical career. Reasons for this are still unknown. As identification with the profession can be seen as one of the main determiners of a successful career, the proposed research focused on the content of the professional identity of technical students (i.e. STEM students) and measured the extent to which STEM students’ personal identity match with the perceived future as an engineer (professional identity). In addition, the identity status, current career choice and the activities to discover the professional field were examined in both qualitative and quantitative way. Structured by five categories, 60 STEM-students from the University of Applied Sciences and the University described their personal identity and the professional identity of engineer. A self-to-prototype matching strategy was used to measure the overlap score between the two described identities. No great overlap was found and in addition, there was only a small marginal significant relation with the level of identification. Remarkably, this relation was negative, what insinuates that students who see more similarities between themselves and their future profession did not identify with it. Besides, the identity status was determined to indicate where the participants were in their professional identity development. Five identity statuses were identified whereby searching moratorium was most popular. A significant relationship was found between the level of identification and the specific identity status a STEM-student has. This does not apply to the relation of the level of identification and the career choice (e.g. function and organization). Lastly, a significant relationship was found between the student level and the career choice. The present study tried to provide insight in the content of the professional identity and what constitutes the career choices of STEM-students.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
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