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A Plan To Increase Graduate Enrollment At Science, Mathematics And Engineering Disciplines

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.78.1 - 6.78.6



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Mehdi Shadaram

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Lourdes Sanchez-Contreras

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

Session 2793

A Plan to Increase Graduate Enrollment at Science, Mathematics and Engineering Disciplines

Lourdes Sánchez–Contreras, Mehdi Shadaram The University of Texas at El Paso


The number of science, engineering, and mathematics (SEM) students who have attended graduate school has dropped considerably over the past few years. The graduate enrollment at both Colleges of Science and Engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has decreased steadily by about 30% from 1993-1997. The drop in the College of Engineering is due to the aggressive recruiting by corporations who are offering financially rewarding jobs. While graduates in the College of Science are for most part committed to pursuing post baccalaureate degrees, undergraduate enrollment rates remain low. Meantime, Biology graduates frequently enter into medicine or veterinary school.

I. Introduction

A plan initiated by the UTEP Model Institution for Excellence (MIE) is under development to increase the percentage of SEM graduates who enroll in graduate school. The main objectives of this task force are to identify and recruit cohorts of junior students who have the potential and desire to pursue careers in research and development, and to promote summer external research activities among SEM undergraduates. Each participating student in the cohort will receive a research stipend for up to two academic years. The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), a task force within MIE will assemble student cohorts prior to the fall semester of each year. Each cohort will be divided into Affinity Research Groups. Undergraduate students along with graduate students in each group will participate in carrying out a specific research project supervised by several faculty mentors. The faculty mentors will receive proper training in order to optimize the transition from undergraduate to graduate school. Currently, two Affinity Groups in Computer Science Department with more than 25 students and two Affinity Groups in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department with more than 20 students have been established. The average percentage of undergraduates in these groups who have pursued graduate degree after graduation is about 45%. Our goal is to establish at least one Affinity Group in each department in the Colleges of Science and Engineering.

Aside from performing research, students in each group will be enrolled in a research seminar each semester, and can earn a total of three academic credits. A faculty and a student coordinator with an active learning format will conduct the seminar. Through the seminar class students will learn to develop research portfolios, computer-aided

Shadaram, M., & Sanchez-Contreras, L. (2001, June), A Plan To Increase Graduate Enrollment At Science, Mathematics And Engineering Disciplines Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9649

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