Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Women in engineering--Vocational guidance; Women in science--Vocational guidance; Women in technology--Vocational guidance; College majors--United States;


Many efforts are underway to boost female participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) careers, especially engineering. While the numbers of females working in STEM has improved, engineering is not seeing the increases other fields are. In an effort to gauge the impact of participation in FIRST Robotics’ First Tech Challenge (FTC) on college major selection, I researched the following questions:

1. How does participation in FIRST-Robotics: FIRST Tech Challenge impact female high-school senior students’ plans for a college major?

2. If participation in First Tech Challenge impacts female high-school senior students to select engineering as a college field of study, what specific activities influence this decision making process?

I created a questionnaire for qualifying participants to communicate their experiences. Qualifying participants were female, ages 18-21, participated in FTC for a minimum of one season, and planned to attend college. Each participant shared their story and provided a glimpse into their experiences and opportunities. The results reflected many positive opportunities leading to the development of leadership skills, confidence building, teamwork skills, positive STEM/engineering attitudes, and three of six participants had an impact on their college major selection.

In conclusion, the college major selection was directly impacted for three of six individuals through FTC participation. It was also found that leadership roles expanded and self-confidence improved. Other apparent impacts were a positive attitude toward engineering for each participant in this study and support from mentors may have played a role in relating the FTC to real world career opportunities for two participants. A final finding was the relationship between participants and the number of seasons of FTC participation they had. For those with more than two season of experience, greater gains appeared in college major impact, leadership growth, and self-confidence.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Science Education Program

First Advisor

Jill D. Maroo, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 82 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download