Gender differences in the social networks of science and engineering graduate students
Gibson, Amanda Kate Nam
MetadataShow full item record
U.S. women have obtained advanced science and engineering degrees with increasing frequency, yet have not achieved promotions at rates comparable to men's. Men may advance more expeditiously than women due to more supportive professional networks, which can improve access to information and opportunities. Few studies have examined social networks in the context of advanced graduate programs, yet graduate programs are where many scientists develop important relationships helpful in advancing careers. This study addressed the extent to which graduate students' networks (primary advisors, mentors, peers, and family) are associated with academic indicators (i.e., grade-point average, academic progress, student satisfaction, and career commitment); the extent to which these network and academic variables vary by gender; the extent to which network characteristics mediate associations between gender and academic variables; and the extent to which gender match or mismatch of the student and primary advisor is associated with network characteristics and academic variables. Two hundred and thirty-nine doctoral students (58% women, 42% male; mean age 28 years; 29% non-Caucasian) from 18 science and engineering departments at a large research university completed a brief internet survey about their network relationships and academic indicators. Graduate women reported significantly less satisfaction and more negative perceptions of academic progress than did graduate men. Female students with female primary advisors were significantly less satisfied with their graduate experience than were students in other gender pairings. Male students were more likely than female students to have primary advisors who had significant funding, directed a graduate program, and directed a research center. Male students also reported greater satisfaction overall with their mentors. Female students reported larger mentor networks and more emotional support resources received from mentors and peers. Gender differences in overall student satisfaction were partially explained by male students feeling significantly more overall satisfaction with their mentors and a sense of apprenticeship with their advisors as compared to female students. These findings illuminate some important differences between male and female student networks, especially in advising and mentoring relationships, which may be contributing to dissatisfaction and the perception of less academic progress among female students.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston UniversityPLEASE NOTE: Boston University Libraries did not receive an Authorization To Manage form for this thesis or dissertation. It is therefore not openly accessible, though it may be available by request. If you are the author or principal advisor of this work and would like to request open access for it, please contact us at email@example.com. Thank you.