SUBJECT: M.S. Thesis Presentation
BY: Jessie Liu
TIME: Wednesday, May 10, 2023, 2:30 p.m.
PLACE: MARC Building, 114
TITLE: Influences and Gender Effects on Role Stereotype Adherence on Engineering Design Teams
COMMITTEE: Dr. Katherine Fu, Co-Chair (ME)
Dr. Christopher Saldana, Co-Chair (ME)
Dr. Thomas Kurfess (ME)


This study aims to find the relationship between gender and internal/external effects on engineering design teams and their role stereotype adherence. Women on engineering design teams tend to take more non-technical roles. Understanding the mechanisms that inform this is important for encouraging more women in STEM in order to close the gender gap. A survey was administered to current computer science and engineering university students in the United States presenting a scenario on which they’re on an engineering design team. They’re asked for their project interest, role interests, role self-efficacies, and anticipated contribution percentage. They are then told they’re assigned the role of documentation by a teammate and asked the same questions again after a brief reflection.
Participants showed varying levels of project interest based on the project topic given and gender differences in expected work contribution, interest, and self-efficacy. Women had much higher experience and self-efficacy levels in documentation than men (p < 0.01) and lower interest in the complex project when assigned a role by a masculine stereotyped name (p = 0.0482). Men also estimated a significantly lower contribution percentage than women after being assigned a role (p = 0.0084). These results support existing literature where women are more likely to take on documentation roles in teams and that society tends to devalue work that is stereotypically associated as feminine. Findings can be used to inform curriculum development in hands-on design project courses and management of design groups in industry.