Asee peer logo

A Longitudinal Study Of Student Persistence In Science, Technology, Engineering, And Mathematics (Stem) At A Regional Urban University

Download Paper |


2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

What Makes Them Continue?

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.65.1 - 8.65.18



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Connie Della-Piana

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3553

A Longitudinal Study of Student Persistence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) at a Regional Urban University

Connie Kubo Della-Piana, Ann Darnell, Julia Bader, Lilly Romo, Nohemi Rubio, Benjamin Flores, Helmut Knaust, Thomas Brady, and Andrew Swift

The Model Institutions for Excellence*† The University of Texas at El Paso‡


In 1995 the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded six minority-serving institutions in an effort to develop models for undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education that would increase the persistence, graduation, and success of all undergraduate STEM students; improve the quality of undergraduate STEM programs; and increase the diversity in STEM professions and graduate programs. The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), one of the six funded institutions, is located in the southwest corner of Texas bordering Juarez, Mexico and New Mexico. It primarily serves the predominantly Hispanic population of the region. Developed for all entering students in the College of Science and College of Engineering, the Circles of Learning for Entering Students (CircLES) program is a comprehensive institutional effort starting with a weeklong STEM summer orientation. CircLES also provides students with discipline-specific student advising and requires students to participate in one to two semesters of science or engineering-oriented learning communities, based on their pre-college preparation in Mathematics and English. This paper describes the design and findings of a five-year longitudinal study of student persistence in STEM since implementation of the program. Findings from the study indicate that students who participate in the program have higher retention rates in STEM, as well as at the University, and increased persistence toward graduation when compared to 1997 baseline rates. Similar results are

* The Model Institutions for Excellence Project is funded by the National Science Foundation (EEC# 9550502). † The first author is currently a fellow in the Faculty Research Participation Program operated by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education. ‡ As Associate Dean for the Colleges of Engineering and Science, Dr. Pablo Arenaz, who is currently the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas at El Paso, had the administrative responsibility to transform CircLES from a pilot program to full scale-up in 1998. Dr. Walter Fisher, Dr. Nancy Marcus, Dr. Andrew Bernat, Dr. Elaine Fredericksen, and Dr. Connie Kubo Della-Piana were members of a leadership team that attended the National Learning Communities Dissemination Project (FIPSE). Olympia, WA: The Evergreen State College, Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Della-Piana, C. (2003, June), A Longitudinal Study Of Student Persistence In Science, Technology, Engineering, And Mathematics (Stem) At A Regional Urban University Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12229

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015