June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Community Engagement Division
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.
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