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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v3.i3.10
pages 119-143

GENDER AND ETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN THE EXPERIENCES, ACHIEVEMENTS, AND EXPECTATIONS OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING MAJORS

Jerilee Grandy
Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ

ABSTRACT

This project surveyed a stratified sample of college seniors who registered to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test in December 1990 and who were majoring in natural sciences, mathematics, computer sciences, and engineering (S/E). All were taking the GRE in the process of applying to graduate school. This article analyzes the GRE-file information and survey responses of the 771 male and 737 female students in the sample who planned to continue their S/E studies in graduate school. The sample showed a great many gender differences. Women earned lower test scores than did men. They rated many of their abilities lower, and expected to earn lower salaries. More women than men preferred a job working with people, and they placed a greater value on making a contribution to society. Women found their professors supportive and encouraging. Nearly twice as many women as men had a mother in a technical, mechanical, or scientific occupation. Differences among ethnic groups were more pronounced than differences between men and women. Although African-Americans had the lowest grades and test scores of any ethnic group, they had the highest salary expectations and the greatest optimism about their professional futures. Mexican-Americans had parents who, on average, had the least formal education. More than other ethnic groups, they appeared to find their undergraduate environments stressful. Asian-Americans were the least satisfied with their undergraduate experiences. Puerto Ricans had the greatest doubts about their chosen careers and expected the lowest salaries.


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