The effectiveness of engineering workshops on attracting hispanic female students to construction career paths

Elnaz Safapour, Sharareh Kermanshachi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations


Engineering sectors suffer from lack of diversity, as most women are hesitant to pursue a career in these fields. Since the year 2000, less than fifteen percent of engineering populations and less than eight percent of transportation employees in engineering positions are women. In order to fill this gap, this study aims to host a series of workshops to attract Hispanic female students to leadership and executive positions in construction engineering. Workshops were hosted using two separate sets of modules: one for high school students, one for middle school students. Materials developed for the workshops mainly explored the new civil engineering technologies and their related career opportunities. The research team also explained the fundamentals of successful careers in academia or industry, and introduced women who are successful in both governmental and private entities. To achieve maximum results and encourage constructive discussions, seven females from academia and industry were invited to share their success stories and challenges. To assess the usefulness of the workshops in attracting female students to construction engineering, a survey was developed and distributed. The participants were asked to complete the surveys after the modules were presented and discussed. After a comparative analysis of the completed surveys, it was observed that the program was able to positively change the perception of female students towards pursuing careers in the construction engineering fields as a practitioner or researcher. The study also revealed that the lack of proper familiarization with engineering prospects during their early stages of education is making women timid about pursuing an engineering career. The findings of this study will help educational institutions and experts develop materials that will encourage their female students to explore and study positions in the construction engineering fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConstruction Research Congress 2020
Subtitle of host publicationSafety, Workforce, and Education - Selected Papers from the Construction Research Congress 2020
EditorsMounir El Asmar, David Grau, Pingbo Tang
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780784482872
StatePublished - 2020
EventConstruction Research Congress 2020: Safety, Workforce, and Education - Tempe, United States
Duration: Mar 8 2020Mar 10 2020

Publication series

NameConstruction Research Congress 2020: Safety, Workforce, and Education - Selected Papers from the Construction Research Congress 2020


ConferenceConstruction Research Congress 2020: Safety, Workforce, and Education
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction

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