June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.146.1 - 10.146.8
ALVA: A Successful Program for Increasing the Number of Minority Undergraduates who Earn Engineering Degrees
Lisa Peterson, Scott Pinkham, Cathryne Jordan
College of Engineering, University of Washington
A highly successful minority outreach and support program for incoming college freshmen in engineering is described. The University of Washington has been running ALVA (Alliances for Learning and Vision for underrepresented Americans) for 11 years and continuously tracks its participants. Partners in ALVA come from the government, education, and industry. This program targets talented underrepresented minority students and addresses four major hurdles that face minority students in engineering: lack of vision of themselves as an engineer, finances, community, and academic preparation. We will present ALVA as a model that can be duplicated at other colleges and universities.
Many studies have proven that underrepresented minority undergraduates drop out of engineering at a higher rate than their Caucasian and Asian peers7,1,12,14. For those who are retained, one of the most accurate predictors of success in engineering is GPA, both for high school, and especially for the first year in college6. In 1993, the University of Washington’s Minority and Science Engineering Program (MSEP) began a new initiative – the Alliance for Learning and Vision for underrepresented Americans (ALVA). The purpose of ALVA is to increase students’ success during their first year in college and address multiple factors that negatively impact minority students’ success in engineering14. These factors include finances11, academic preparation12,3, difficulty envisioning themselves as engineers12, and lack of community on campus15.
Underrepresented minorities (African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Alaskan Native) comprise 19% of the US population, but only 6% of the professionals in engineering2. Washington state enjoys many opportunities for engineers to work, and ranks 13th in the nation in the number of engineers with doctorates9, so there are many career opportunities for engineers in the Pacific Northwest. However, few underrepresented minorities receive degrees in engineering. Nationwide, 7% of the bachelor’s degrees awarded are in engineering. Whites earn 77% of these degrees, while African Americans earn 2.4% and Hispanic/Latinos earn only 1.5%4.
“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”
Pinkham, S., & Jordan, C., & Peterson, L. (2005, June), Alva: A Successful Program For Increasing The Number Of Minority Undergraduates Who Earn Engineering Degrees Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/14715
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015