June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
11.92.1 - 11.92.11
A Pathway to Success: Increasing Minorities in Engineering through the Pre- College Pipeline
Several researchers have indicated that African American college student numbers are rising in higher education. However, issues in preparedness to enter college and little knowledge of the university system remain extant with many minority groups. Also, these underrepresented groups are less likely to enter science-related fields. Thus, it is critical that administrators in higher education and other stake-holder groups develop incentives to encourage, support, and assist pre- college underrepresented students to pursue degrees in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields (STEM).
This paper focuses on a pre-college program targeted towards African American pre-college students and sponsored by the Virginia Tech chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the College of Engineering’s Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED). The objectives of this paper are two-fold: 1) to describe the structure and implementation of the pre-college program, and 2) to discuss the impact of the pre-college program on the student participants. Since 1999, approximately 500 students have participated in the pre-college program. Phone interviews were conducted to collect data on these participants. The results of these phone interviews provided data on the number of participants who have completed high school, enrolled in college, pursued an engineering degree, graduated from college, and pursued a graduate degree. In conclusion, this paper discusses the impact this pre-college program has on the future enrollment of these pre-college students in higher education and in the STEM fields.
Over the past decades, researchers have indicated that African American college student numbers are rising in higher education.5,2 The American Council on Education (ACE) report indicates that enrollment among African American students grew to nearly 1.8 million students between 1991 and 2001. This is a 37 percent increase; however, issues in preparedness to enter college and little knowledge of the university system remain extant with many minority groups. Also, these underrepresented groups are less likely to enter science-related fields.8,4,7 Several factors that impede minority groups’ academic success before college exist, prolonging or even precluding their graduation from college.
One at-risk factor associated with pre-college students is academic under preparedness. Hick’s research indicates that pre-college students may be perceived as having (a) poorer academic and social preparation, (b) lower self-confidence, and (c) inadequate parental support.6 These issues were carefully examined in first generation students. Another at-risk factor associated with pre- college students is their unrealistic picture of what college entails. It is believed that inaccurate perspectives about the university’s complex systems can be a devastating and challenging experience, particularly for African Americans and other minorities entering STEM fields. 3
Waller, T., & Artis, S., & Watford, B., & Zephirin, T. (2006, June), A Pathway To Success: Increasing Minorities In Engineering Through The Pre College Pipeline Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1364
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