Asee peer logo

ASCENT - A Program Designed to Support STEM Students through Undergraduate Research and Mentoring

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session II

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Kumer Pial Das Lamar University

visit author page

Dr. Kumer Pial Das is an Associate Professor of Statistics and the
Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX. He is the PI of a S-STEM program funded by NSF.

visit author page

author page

B. D. Daniel Lamar University


Stefan Andrei Lamar University

visit author page

Stefan Andrei received his B.S. in Computer Science (1994) and M.S. in Computer Science (1995) from Cuza University of Iasi, Romania, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science (2000) from Hamburg University, Germany. He was awarded with four competitive scholarships, as follows: the Singapore-MIT Alliance Computer Science Fellowship (2002-2005), the World Bank Joint Japan Graduate Scholarship Program (1998-2000), the TEMPUS Fellowship (1998), and DAAD Scholarship (1997). Dr. Andrei wrote over 100 peer-reviewed refereed publications published in prestigious journals and conference proceedings, which have more than 200 non-self international citations in reputable publications. He has given invited lectures at more than 20 reputable universities and industrial companies. He has been a Program Committee member or co-Chair of more than 40 international reputable conferences and a PI, co-PI, or Senior Personnel of more than 11 funded research grant proposals. He was promoted to ACM Senior Member in April 2013. Currently, he is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science with Lamar University, Beaumont, TX, U.S.A. His research interests are in the areas of optimization, verification, and scheduling analysis for real-time embedded systems, software engineering, additive manufacturing, and translation systems.

visit author page


Lawrence Joseph Osborne Lamar University Computer Science Department

visit author page

Dr. Osborne has been a faculty member at Lamar University since 1990. Prior to joining the Lamar faculty, Dr. Osborne taught on the faulty at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri for seven years. He served as Department Chair at Lamar University for nineteen years before relinquishing that position at the beginning of 2013.

Dr. has published more than 30 research articles in peer-reviewed conferences proceedings and journals on wired and wireless networks, distributed computing, algorithms, and computer science education. He has made numerous conference presentations at ACM, IEEE, and the Association of Computer Educators in Texas. Dr. Osborne regularly reviews papers for the Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (itiCSE), and for the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE). He served for eight years as a Program Evaluator for ABET, Inc. which accredits all engineering and approximately half of the computer science programs in the United States. In 2015, he became one of 52 ABET Computing Accreditation Commissioners whose responsibility is to determine the final action taken each year on accreditation applications.

Dr. Osborne received his undergraduate degree in Mathematics Education at Southeast Missouri State University, his M.A. in Mathematics from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This study introduces Lamar University’s AddreSsing the Gulf Coast REgion’s GraduatioN RaTe Crisis in Mathematics and Computer Science (ASCENT) initiative, an NSF awarded S-STEM program(Award # 1154606). The main goal of ASCENT is the rapid graduation of outstanding mathematicians and computer scientists by providing scholarships and extensive academic support to community college students who transfer to Lamar University and to current upper level Lamar students to complete bachelor’s degrees in mathematics or computer science. Academic support includes a Summer Bridge and an Enrichment program, undergraduate research, multi-level mentoring, and post-graduate placement. The ASCENT program targets talented “at risk” students who face social and economic hardship and provides them support to graduate on time. These “at risk” group includes women and minorities, community college students, first generation students and veteran students. The program has been very successful in the first three years in terms of recruitment, retention, and graduation. Moreover, ASCENT was the catalyst of institutionalizing undergraduate research at Lamar University. ASCENT's most significant contribution to LU is in the area of undergraduate research. Our ASCENT scholars conduct undergraduate research under the supervision of faculty mentors during the second summer of their program. Scholars get control over their education in ways that are almost impossible to replicate in the classroom. They present their work at the Texas STEM Conference in October. These undergraduate research initiative has increased the awareness of undergraduate research throughout the campus. As a result of this awareness Lamar University has established the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) in 2013 and the PI of ASCENT is serving as the director of the office. OUR hosts expo, conference, talks, workshops etc. It also offers research and travel grants to students. One of the other biggest achievements of the ASCENT program is the introduction of a conference for S-STEM scholarship recipients of the state of Texas and Louisiana. We just hosted the 3rd Texas STEM Conference on October 3, 2015 at the campus of LU. Over 120 students and faculty attended sessions created to emphasize improving STEM education. College and university faculty members, administrators, and peers involved in STEM education, or interested in getting involved, were invited to share and explore research, best practices, and ideas with their colleagues around the state of Texas and Louisiana. The conference was also attended by right S-STEM PI or co-PIs. This paper describes the ASCENT approach, its expected results, evaluation plan, and future plans.

Das, K. P., & Daniel, B. D., & Andrei, S., & Osborne, L. J. (2016, June), ASCENT - A Program Designed to Support STEM Students through Undergraduate Research and Mentoring Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26282

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: © 2016 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