Studies suggest that students' attitudes toward engineering courses may determine whether they persist in engineering, rather than academic performance alone. We take a mixed-methods approach to explore gritty attitudes and to confirm whether previous research on grit can be applied to undergraduate engineering students. We address two main research questions: (1) Does the grit scale predict retention among first-year undergraduate engineering students? (2) What does grit specifically look like for engineering students? To answer the first question, we invited all first-year engineering students at one university to complete the grit scale during Fall 2014. We will check whether the scores on the grit scale correlate positively with retention in engineering. To answer the second question, we invited all students who were persisting in engineering after having earned a D or an F grade in a required technical course to participate in a semi-structured interview. We hope to capture how these engineering students respond to academic setbacks and what they believe about effort, perseverance, and academic success.