From the NSF award abstract:

The student experience model includes a set of well-established evidence-based practices that form an ecosystem of academic and co-curricular supports for students and is designed to foster retention, transfer, and graduation in STEM. The research team will conduct two research studies of this ecosystem of supports. The qualitative phenomenological study is designed to investigate and understand the development and maintenance of professional/career identity. The quantitative comparison study is designed to investigate the influence of individual motivation and the characteristics of the academic and social environments of ECSE on student success, retention, transfer, and degree attainment.

Student Identity Research

Research question: How do women and other diverse students participating in the ECSEL program develop and sustain their engineering identities?

The research study will be longitudinal, following students for several years to provide a more in-depth analysis of their engineering identity development. It will involve a number of elements, such as questionnaires, interviews, and journal entries by student participants.

Motivation Research

The goal of this research is to increase understanding of what drives underrepresented students to thrive and persist in ECSE degree programs. Self-Determination Theory (SDT) of motivation can help explain how the environment can affect these students, including their perceived autonomy, competence, and sense of belonging, which are factors that impact the students’ likelihood of persisting in ECSE.

The research will examine the results of prediction models using those factors, and will use Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) and logistical regression to establish links between the measured variables and their underlying constructs.