June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Minorities in Engineering
24.21.1 - 24.21.16
A Case Study of Success: Mentoring and Supporting Underrepresented Transfer Students in a Mechanical Engineering ProgramOur institution, like many large urban institutions, has a very diverse student body. This diversityis not only reflected in ethnic and racial differences, but also in the students’ educationalbackgrounds. Our institution enrolls a large number of transfer students, mostly from communitycolleges in our state. These students face a number of challenges, including the adjustment to anew learning environment, issues related to transfer credits, and the necessity of takingadditional courses to complete lower division major requirements.In 2011, our institution received a five-year, $5.5 million dollar HSI-STEM grant from theDepartment of Education to address the challenges faced by transfer students fromunderrepresented groups. Two local community colleges are partners in the grant. The maingoals of the grant are to recruit promising students from community colleges, and then providethem with financial and academic support to ensure their success. There are also opportunities towork on summer research projects under the guidance of their faculty mentors. The initial cohortof students that entered the program is now nearing graduation.Students in the program are enrolled in a variety of engineering disciplines, including computerscience, and are expected to spend additional time on campus in order to become more fullyengaged in their department’s activities. In the mechanical engineering department, students areencouraged to become involved as a volunteer in one of the senior capstone projects, and/orbecome active in ASME student section activities. This paper describes how the mechanicalengineering students in the program have benefited from these activities, and in particular,focuses on research work that a group of seven students (five from our institution and two fromone of our community college partners) performed in the summer of 2013. Their work wasrelated to our institution’s Human Powered Vehicle project, which is one of the senior capstoneoptions for mechanical engineering students. Specifically, the group worked on developingmethodologies for predicting drag on human powered vehicles, using the previous year’s vehicleas a test bed. The drag on this vehicle was estimated using computer simulation, wind tunneltests, and field measurements. The results of their work, and how they impacted the design ofthis year’s human powered vehicle, are discussed.
Ryan, R. G., & Durdella, N., & Navarro, T. (2014, June), A Case Study of Success: Mentoring and Supporting Underrepresented Transfer Students in a Mechanical Engineering Program Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--19913
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