Research on doctoral student attrition has shown that one of the main reasons students leave PhD programs is a poor relationship with their doctoral advisor. While much work has examined the dynamics of the doctoral advising relationship, few studies have reported how these relationships are formed or the context in which they begin. Using a case study approach, this work compares student and faculty perspectives on the advisor selection process in doctoral chemical engineering programs and examines how these processes contribute to both faculty and doctoral student satisfaction. The results showed that both students and faculty in chemical engineering value having some control over the outcomes of the selection process. At the same time, they needed support in making this decision. Overall, the results of this work highlight the importance of developing practices that balance an individual’s need for support and autonomy to improve satisfaction.
About the speaker
Mayra S. Artiles is a postdoctoral associate in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Artiles currently researches the experiences of underrepresented minorities in doctoral engineering programs. Her dissertation research focused on understanding the role of choice in the advisor selection process in STEM doctoral programs. She has collaborated in research projects on diversity in engineering, institutional support for minority students, intercultural competence development in engineering students and doctoral student motivation. She has a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, a master’s in mechanical engineering from Purdue University with a focus on nanotechnology and a PhD in engineering education from Virginia Tech. Before her joining the PhD program, she worked at Ford Motor Company as an Electrified Vehicles Thermal Engineer for four years. As part of her long-term goals, Artiles desires to continue studying the impact of graduate education practices on the student experience at various stages of the doctoral pursuit.