Date of Award

Winter 3-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Education

First Advisor

David Hall


Though women earn the majority of bachelor’s degrees in the United States of America, they are in the vast minority of those earning degrees in engineering, only 24%. In an effort to ultimately increase the number of women graduating with degrees in engineering, our study focused on improving the retention of first-year female students.

We set out to discover if female engineering students, who traditionally are in the minority of their student body, would have an increase in their performance and retention when placed in a manipulated course environment of gender parity (50% women, 50% men). Our study followed 129 first-year female engineering students in Fall 2017 and Fall 2018 through their first academic term where they were enrolled in the initial engineering course at Louisiana Tech University.

As a result of this study, we found no significance associated with the implementation of gender parity sections of a first-year engineering course on participants’ performance and retention. After uncovering these initial results, we further investigated other potential factors affecting retention, including Composite ACT scores, Math ACT scores, overall high school grade point average, and midterm exam grades, resulting in insightful information.