The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 79

Professional Identities in Living-Learning Communities

preference for a particular profession, where
they tied with White students (M = 2.30). Additionally, differences existed in the means for
the professional identity constructs across the
different racial groups. A possible explanation
for higher scores by international students is
that students attending a school abroad will
often choose the school of a particular major
(i.e., engineering) and are making a substantial commitment to attend in a foreign country.
We acknowledge that institutional data
combining the race and ethnicity of international and domestic racial groups into one
question causes concern for analysis. An additional limitation of this study came from the
small sample size, which prevented us from
conducting some statistical tests of significance. Future research should be conducted
where sample sizes enable researchers to
analyze the differences in professional identity
among various racial groups, as suggested by
Chang (2002).
Final recommendations related to professional identity come from the statistically
significant differences based on years at the institution. First- and fourth-year students at the
institution scored statistically significant differences on one of the five subscales (self-efficacy).
These results are the opposite of our expectations. Fourth-year students scored lower (M =
3.60) than did first-year students (M = 3.87).
This difference may be explained by the fact
that as students progress in their degrees, they
may become more aware of their own knowledge and skill gaps within the engineering curriculum and thus score themselves lower than
do their more idealistic first-year student peers.
To state it another way, the college experience
has an inherent design to broaden a student's

view of the world, giving them more and more
information and options and mature perspective as they progress. First-year students have a
narrower viewpoint, so it is easier for them to
make a concrete statement. Housing professionals working with engineering LLCs might
consider programs that incorporate upperdivision students, who could serve as mentors,
participate in panel discussions, and take part in
other forms of interaction to develop first-year
students' professional identity. Overall their
presence and involvement with first-year students will aid first-year students in having more
realistic understandings of their engineering
knowledge and skills.

Engineering Identity Analysis
When exploring the engineering identity differences between males and females, males
had higher means in recognition (M = +0.25,
p = 0.02), performance and competence (M =
+0.34, p = 0.02), and in the total mean score
(M = +0.19, p = 0.04). These results indicate
that females identify less as engineers than
their male counterparts do. It is likely that
this difference does not come from a lack of
support in education, but from females being
traditionally underrepresented in engineering (Hamrick, 2019; Wasilewski, 2015). As
a result, engineering curricula should focus
on bolstering female engineering identity by
emphasizing both their recognition and their
performance and competence in the field.
This finding supports housing professionals'
current practice of creating floors or wings for
female engineers. This layering of engineering identity and gender may aid in bolstering
female recognition, performance and competence, and their overall engineering identity.

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