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Assessment of the Effects of Participation in a Summer Bridge Experience for Women

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Laura Bottomley North Carolina State University

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Dr. Laura Bottomley, Teaching Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Elementary Education, is also the Director of Women in Engineering and The Engineering Place at NC State University. She has been working in the field of engineering education for over 20 years. She is dedicated to conveying the joint messages that engineering is a set of fields that can use all types of minds and every person needs to be literate in engineering and technology. She is an ASEE and IEEE Fellow and PAESMEM awardee.

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James Samuel Carter III University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Mr. James Carter is a Ph.D. student in Education (Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He holds undergraduate degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Sociology from North Carolina State University. He worked as an Aerospace Engineer for 9 years before returning to school.

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The ESCape program was started in 2008 as a bridge program for incoming women students in the College of Engineering [1]. The program was first outlined in 2009 at the ASEE Annual Conference. When the program was started, admitted students with the lowest math SAT scores were invited to attend. This decision was taken, because internal research indicated that math performance was predictive of engineering retention, and it was desired to increase the retention of engineering students who identify as female. Over time, the SAT scores of admitted engineering students have increased significantly. Additionally, the activities designed to instill confidence in mathematics were determined through assessment to have little effect. Therefore, the activities of the camp were redesigned to focus more on community-building and connection-making with Engineering faculty and industry partners. More emphasis has been placed on introducing students to engineering in both academic and industrial settings. In 2016 a change was made to invite all admitted female-identifying engineering students and institute a selection process that values an essay about what the student anticipates they would get from participation in the bridge program. The tenth anniversary of the program was in the summer of 2018, so a more comprehensive longitudinal study of outcomes for participants has been undertaken.

As a living program that has been evolved based on formative assessment, the same essential goals of increasing the retention, success (measured by GPA) and graduation of women engineering students have been retained. The outcomes for student cohorts over the years compared to the general engineering student population of women who did not attend the program and of men have been collected. This paper presents some of the results for eight cohorts of fifty students each from the longitudinal study for student retention, graduation rates and GPA.

Bottomley, L., & Carter, J. S. (2020, June), Assessment of the Effects of Participation in a Summer Bridge Experience for Women Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--36013

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