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A Step In The Right Direction: Student Transition To Engineering Program

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Factors Affecting Minority Engineering Students

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

12.119.1 - 12.119.14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/1895

Download Count

28

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Paper Authors

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Brad Matanin Virginia Tech

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BRAD M. MATANIN is a M.S. student in Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is a graduate assistant with the College of Engineering and Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED), serving as the Assistant Director of STEP and teaching assistant for the Galileo program.

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Tremayne Waller Virginia Tech

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TREMAYNE O. WALLER received a B.S. degree in Liberal Arts Education from Averett University in 1996 and M.S. degree in Counseling from Radford University in 1999. Currently, he is working on a PhD. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He works for the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity as the graduate assistant overseeing STEP and the Pre-College Initiative programs.

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Jean Kampe Virginia Tech

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J. C. MALZAHN KAMPE is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She received her Ph.D. in metallurgical engineering from Michigan Technological University, M.Ch.E. in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware, and a B.S. degree in chemical engineering at Michigan Technological University.

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Cory Brozina Virginia Tech

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Cory Brozina is a graduate assistant with the College of Engineering and Center for the Enhancement in Engineering Diversity (CEED). He is the Data Manager for the College of Engineering and Director of Imagination for the CEED office. He is in the Industrial and Systems Engineering department obtaining his masters in Management Systems.

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Bevlee Watford Virginia Tech

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DR. BEVLEE A. WATFORD, P.E. is the founding Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, established in 1992. Watford received the ASEE 2003 Minorities in Engineering award due to her efforts to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of under-represented students in engineering. She is currently working for the National Science
Foundation as a rotator in the Division of Undergraduate Education.

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

A STEP in the Right Direction: Student Transition to Engineering Program

Abstract

In 1995, Virginia Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) established and implemented a summer bridge program for pre-enrolled freshman students entering the College of Engineering in the subsequent fall. From 1995 to 2004, the program was targeted to under-represented engineering students under the name ASPIRE (The Academic Summer Program Introducing Resources for Engineers). In 2004, the CEED office received a $2 million dollar STEP (STEM Talent Expansion Program) grant from the National Science Foundation. The goal of the project is to increase the number of students earning degrees in engineering and computer science. One component of the grant activities was the expansion of ASPIRE, marketing it to a larger number of first-year students admitted to the College of Engineering (COE). The expanded bridge program still operates under the auspices of the CEED and has been named STEP Bridge – Student Transition to Engineering Program.

Here, we provide a brief overview/history of ASPIRE and then discuss the transition to, and implementation of the STEP Bridge program. We will compare the logistics of managing both programs, costs, demographics of the populations served, fall semester academic performance of the participants as compared to appropriate non-participating cohorts, and student satisfaction with bridge programs. We will also project the program impact and discuss anticipated growing pains as we continue to expand to our target participation of 100 students. We will present what we have learned from the past two years of implementation, as STEP Bridge moves into its third year.

Introduction

In 1995 Virginia Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) first implemented a summer pre-freshman bridge program targeted to under-represented engineering students2. ASPIRE (The Academic Summer Program Introducing Resources for Engineers) was a five-week program that assisted African American and Hispanic students with the academic and social transition between high school and college. Specifically, the program goal was to support diversity within the college by increasing retention of minority students through enhancing first-semester performance.

From 1995-2004 ASPIRE served approximately 300 students. CEED has maintained data on the academic performance of all ASPIRE students with a cohort control group as they progress through Virginia Tech. The data indicates increased academic performance, improved grades in general freshman courses, and higher retention and graduation percentages as compared to control groups2.

At present, only 50% of all students entering an engineering discipline continue through graduation1. Successes of programs such as ASPIRE have fueled an expansion of transition and

Matanin, B., & Waller, T., & Kampe, J., & Brozina, C., & Watford, B. (2007, June), A Step In The Right Direction: Student Transition To Engineering Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1895

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