June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Minorities in Engineering
12.190.1 - 12.190.10
AggiEmentor: Improving the retention of Undergraduates in STEM Areas via E-mentoring
Abstract North Carolina Agricultural &Technical State University (NCAT) has established an electronic mentoring program to enhance student retention in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). AggiEmentor is free service which pairs an undergraduate student with an A&T alumnus of similar background. The program’s impact on improving retention is assessed using student surveys, and enrollment data. MentorNet is used to facility to the student and alumni matching. The current paper summarizes the program implementation, recruitment strategy, demographic information, and the results of a survey administered at the end of the first semester.
Introduction There are a number of studies that address the effect of mentoring in the retention of students3,5. Mentoring can occur in many forms and is one recommended approach for improving retention of students in STEM disciplines6. For minorities and women, in particular, mentoring has specifically been attributed to increasing retention rates during undergraduate, graduate, and entry into the profession3. Traditional mentoring provides a personal one-on-one match of a student with a mentor; however, electronic communication now provides the opportunity for mentors to communicate with protégés without the common constraints of time and geography5.
Using an electronic mentoring (E-mentoring) system, the mentoring process can be extended to provide undergraduate students a large pool of mentors that transcend the traditional boundaries of mentoring within the University setting. The current generation of STEM students is highly proficient and favorable to utilize electronic communications such as e-mail, instant messaging, virtual communities, and interaction through on-line websites. Therefore, E-mentoring can provide the opportunity to provide cost-effective and convenient communication for mentoring students that can be used to increase retention of students in STEM programs.
MentorNet is a non-profit, E-mentoring network founded in 1997 to addresses the retention and success of those in engineering, science and mathematics, particularly but not exclusively women and other underrepresented groups11. It provides protégés the opportunity to receive one- on-one, email-based mentoring relationships with mentors from industry and academia. While overall satisfaction is high from MentorNet participants, students of color still have unmet needs. A 2002-2003 MentorNet evaluation report indicates that students of color prefer to be matched with mentors of the same ethnic background. Most students of color participating during the evaluation period were paired with mentors of another race. A similar sentiment was expressed in the 2004 Women of Color report10. Historically black colleges and universities are in a unique position to address the needs of students of color as it relates to mentoring. North Carolina A & T State University is among the top producers of African-American engineers1. As a historically black college and university, it has access to a large pool of students as well as mentors via its alumni base. Issues of race and gender experienced in the workplace can be discussed with mentors who share not only the same ethnic background, but collegiate background as well. The intent of this paper is to discuss the implementation of an E-mentoring program we refer to as
Davis, L., & Luster-Teasley, S., & Samanlioglu, F., & Parrish, L. (2007, June), Aggiementor: Improving The Retention Of Undergraduates In Stem Areas Via E Mentoring Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1903
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