Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Philip Gnilka

Second Advisor

Kaprea Johnson

Third Advisor

Michael Broda

Fourth Advisor

Diandra Prescod


This study investigated a) the influence of a STEM career planning course on undergraduate engineering students’ career search self-efficacy, b) the influence of perceived stress on building students’ career search self-efficacy, and c) the relationship career search self-efficacy had in predicting students’ odds of persistence in an engineering major. The researcher analyzed students’ week 1, week 6, and week 14 scores of career search self-efficacy and perceived stress. Data were collected from the Spring 2019 and Fall 2019 cohorts of a STEM career planning. As a result, the analysis included (N = 286) undergraduate engineering students. Repeated measures multilevel models and a logistic regression were analyzed in order to answer the study’s research questions. The results suggested that after accounting for perceived stress, students’ career search self-efficacy increased over the semester in a STEM career planning course. Further, perceived stress was a significant negative predictor of career search self-efficacy scores over the course of the semester and career search self-efficacy was a significant positive predictor of students’ increased odds of persisting in an engineering major. An exploratory analysis revealed that there were no changes in career search self-efficacy scores based on demographic variables including race, gender, ethnicity, and first-generation status. However, another multilevel model analysis yielded a statistically significant positive relationship between career advising ratings and career search self-efficacy scores. Overall, the results of the study support STEM career planning courses as impactful interventions for undergraduate students. Implications for future research; school and career counselors; and counselor education are discussed.


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