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A Multi-Program Approach to Student Retention and Success

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Paying Attention to Retention

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Paige E. Smith University of Maryland, College Park

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Paige Smith, Ph.D. is the director of the Women in Engineering Program in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. Paige has over 20 years of experience with recruiting and retaining diverse populations in engineering. Under her leadership, the Women in Engineering Program received the 2016 Women in Engineering Initiative Award from WEPAN and the 2008 National Engineers Week Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day Award. She is the principal investigator for a National Science Foundation's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP) grant called the Successful Engineering Education and Development Support (SEEDS) Program. SEEDS extends successful women in engineering retention programs to all first-year and new external transfer students in the Clark School. Paige is a Past President of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN). Paige earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in industrial and systems engineering and B.S. in engineering science and mechanics from Virginia Tech.

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Elizabeth R. Kurban University of Maryland, College Park

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Elizabeth Kurban serves as the Assistant Director of Retention for the Women in Engineering Program at the University of Maryland Clark School of Engineering. Elizabeth's professional and research interests broadly surround STEM-field access and persistence for women and underrepresented minoritized student populations. She is passionate about equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education, particularly in the context of engineering. Elizabeth is also a Ph.D. Candidate in Higher Education at the University of Maryland's College of Education. Prior to her journey at UMD, Elizabeth worked in higher education policy research in Washington, DC and earned an M.S.Ed in Higher Education Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of Delaware.

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Catherine T. Amelink Virginia Tech

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Dr. Amelink is Director of Graduate Programs and Assessment in the College of Engineering, Virginia Tech. She is also an affiliate faculty member in the Departments of Engineering Education and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Virginia Tech.

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Programs that address the needs of first year engineering students have traditionally been designed to create community and facilitate inclusion. By diminishing feelings of isolation and increasing support through purposefully designed peer interactions students are more likely to be retained to their second year, thereby addressing retention concerns. These programs can include living learning communities, mentoring experiences, and summer bridge interventions. While research has underscored how specific programs can encourage retention less is understood about how programs can work together to address the needs of at-risk populations, especially those in STEM programs. This paper will discuss the suite of first year interventions that are used for underrepresented students majoring in engineering at a Research 1 institution. The program design and implementation will be discussed. Longitudinal evaluation findings that indicate how providing tightly coupled programming interventions can retain students well beyond their first year will be included.

Smith, P. E., & Kurban, E. R., & Amelink, C. T. (2017, June), A Multi-Program Approach to Student Retention and Success Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27485

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