In this paper, we analyzed the impact of out-of-class interventions focused on healthcare applications on student motivation and retention in engineering. The hypothesis is that exposing students to real-life applications of engineering in healthcare increases their motivation in their engineering education and careers, especially if they are female students. The out-of-class interventions consisted of two workshops where students interacted with professional engineers working in the healthcare field. The panelists shared their inspirations, obstacles, and achievements, and performed an interactive case study session based on their fields of work for students to address in teams. Each workshop was provided to a different student audience: Workshop 1 was provided to students who have previously expressed interest in the topic of healthcare engineering, whereas Workshop 2 was provided to students with some or no previous interest about healthcare engineering. Surveys were designed and administered at the end of each workshop. Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was performed to determine whether the students had favorable perceptions regarding the workshops while Mann-Whitney U-Test was used to test if there was a significant difference between responses from students based on gender. The feedback from students from both workshops was found to be very positive. Results show that 90% and 87% of students who participated in Workshop 1 and Workshop 2, respectively, positively responded that after the workshop, they were more interested in pursuing engineering as a career. No significant difference was found in the responses based on gender. However, it was observed that 100% of female students who participated in Workshop 1 indicated that they were more aware of the opportunities and more motivated to pursue healthcare-related engineering jobs after participating in the workshop. Results demonstrate that the proposed out-of-class interventions showing the connection between engineering and healthcare can increase student motivation in engineering, and are equally effective on students regardless of gender.
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