This paper is the third in a series of efforts to address the troublesome departure of promising college students, most notably women and minorities, from the field of mechanical engineering and similar disciplines. Despite widespread and largely successful efforts to increase the numbers of women and minorities in engineering education, their numbers continue to shrink at a time when they should be expanding. Our first inquiry (IMECE 2017-72597) proposed a mismatch between the empathizing tendency of many students and a climate that discourages professional outlets for such tendencies; as well as incongruencies between professional and engineering identities. We argued that female students were deterred from their engineering aspirations by a climate that included engineering stereotypes, a traditional male-style hierarchy, and differential treatment. Our second endeavor (IMECE 2020-23679) showcased findings from a subsequent STEMpathy study we conducted at our own institution that inspired a persistence model that placed social responsibility goals, or the desire to pursue a career for the betterment of humanity, as well as treatment of students, front and center in the effort to better understand female and minority persistence. Surrounding that goal orientation are categories of factors that deter women and minorities that can be categorized as: 1) Cultural ideological forces; 2) Social structural factors; and 3) the Organizational culture of mechanical engineering. The current undertaking advances empirically based recommendations on ways to: 1) foster a more inclusive engineering culture; 2) enhance the curriculum; and 3) improve public perception of mechanical engineering with the aim of boosting students’ desire to embrace and persist in mechanical engineering. Persistence data from our study informs a five-year NSF grant: S-STEM: The Mechanical Engineering Retention, Academic Success and Career Pathway Program (NSF: DUE-2027632).

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