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An Innovative Approach to Recruit and Retain Historically Underrepresented Students in Engineering

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

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Paper Authors


Monica Palomo P.E. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Associate Professor

B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Guanajuato, Gto, Mexico, December 1999, summa cum laude.

M.S. Civil Engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, May 2003.

PhD. Civil Engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS , May 2008.

Dr. Palomo is currently an Associate Professor of the Civil Engineering Department in the College of Engineering at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona). In this position, Dr. Palomo is responsible for teaching courses such as Introduction to Civil Engineering; Hydraulics; Water and Wastewater Treatment; Groundwater Mechanics; Research Experience of Undergraduate Students; and Engineering Outreach Service Learning courses, among others. She is also a faculty advisor for the California Water Environment Association (CWEA), and Engineers Without Boarders (EWB) student chapters. Additionally, Dr. Palomo is the CE Water Analysis laboratory director and coordinates all teaching, research and safety training activities in the engineering laboratory. Dr. Palomo conducts research in surface water quality improvement via natural treatment systems, water and wastewater treatment processes, and water education. She is involved in outreach programs for K-12 students to increase the participation of Hispanic female students in STEM fields

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Gerri Cole California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields do not usually attract first generation, low-income, and minority students (such as women, Hispanics, and African American, etc.). There are various ways to increase the number of minority students’ participation in STEM careers, but one of the most frequently utilized means is implementing outreach programs in the community to introduce students in the K-12 system to STEM. This study describes the program developed in the Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering (CPP CoE) to provide outreach to K-12 students while increasing the retention of the undergraduate engineering students. The program used service learning, along with outreach activities, to give CPP engineering students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the K-12 classroom. CPP students became mentors and teachers of middle and high school students and led the development of STEM activities. The year-long mentorship experience culminated with an evening event at CPP, where CPP engineering students received the K-12 students, their parents, and their teachers for a night of fun STEM workshops and activities. CPP students’ reflections and students’ engagement in the activities for more than a single term suggested that undergraduate students were positively affected in their involvement with the program. K-12 parents and teachers were enthusiastic about the program and were excited to meet with CPP engineering students. The results will be used to expand the program to reach more K-12 students, and it will be the basis for a sustainable outreach program that will allow CPP engineering students to apply their technical knowledge while servicing the community. This paper describes the details of the service learning outreach-retention program designed for CPP engineering students.

Palomo, M., & Cole, G. (2017, June), An Innovative Approach to Recruit and Retain Historically Underrepresented Students in Engineering Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27567

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