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Board # 27 : Promoting STEM Education in Community College Students via Research

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27819

Download Count

97

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Paper Authors

biography

Carolyn A. Nichol Rice University

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Dr. Carolyn Nichol is a Faculty Fellow in Chemistry and the Director of the Rice Office of STEM Engagement (R-STEM). R-STEM provides teacher professional development to elementary and secondary teachers in science and math content and pedagogy, while also providing STEM outreach to the Houston Community. Dr. Nichol’s research interests are in science education and science policy. She received her B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, her doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, and served as a postdoctoral fellow in the College of Pharmacy at UT Austin. Prior to joining Rice University, she worked at Boehringer Ingelheim on innovative drug delivery systems and she was an Assistant Professor in Diagnostic Radiology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she conducted research on nonviral gene therapy systems. At Rice University she has developed and taught courses in The Department of Bioengineering including Numerical Methods, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Systems Physiology, Biomaterials and Advances in BioNanotechnology.

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Carrie Obenland Rice University

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Dr. Obenland is the Assistant Director for Outreach and Research at the Rice Office of STEM Engagement. She as her PhD in Chemistry from Rice University, as well as her Masters. Her graduate work was focused on chemical education. She earned her BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Alice Chow Rice University

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Alice Chow is an Associate Director for Research and Grants for the Rice University Office of STEM Engagement. She conducts research in K-12 STEM education on topics such as impact of teacher professional development programs on student achievement and attitudes.

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Christina Anlynette Crawford Rice University

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As Assistant Director for Biology and Life Sciences of the Rice Office of STEM Engagement, Christina leads the Rice Excellence in Secondary Science Teaching (RESST) biology program. In this capacity, she guides Houston area high school Life Science teachers in weekly meetings on Rice’s campus to explore both biology concepts and the ways in which they can be taught using inquiry methods.

As a high school teacher with Southwest Schools and Cypress-Fairbanks ISD she has taught AP Biology, Pre AP Biology, as well as regular Biology for 6 years. As a Teacher Development Specialist with Houston ISD, she has coached science teachers on effective educational strategies at various campus around the district. She currently has a B.S. in Biology from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and a M.S.Ed from the University of Houston.

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Carolina Avendano Rice University

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Carolina Avendaño received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Texas A&M University in 2010 where her research focused on molecular nanomagnetism. In her last two years of the Ph.D. program Carolina was an NSF-GK12 fellow where she worked in underserved elementary schools to promote STEM literacy, and provided in school STEM training for both teachers and students. She began her career at Rice in 2010 as a post-doctoral research fellow and then project manager in the Colvin labs. She joined the Rice Office of STEM engagement at the beginning of 2015 as Director of Programs and Operations. In her role Carolina is responsible for overseeing the program operations and the research efforts for the RSTEM group.

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Abstract

Promoting STEM Education in Community College Students via Research

The REU (research experience for undergraduates) can be a formative and beneficial experience for students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) majors. These programs most often select the top undergraduate students to perform research at prestigious universities. The REU that is the topic of this paper takes another approach in order to broaden the participation of community college students in STEM majors and careers. The Nanotechnology REU with a Focus on Community Colleges brings the top students from local two year campuses to a top-tier university for a 10-week research internship. Students traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields including minorities, females, first generation to attend college, and economically disadvantaged are targeted for participation in this REU program. Each REU intern is matched with a nanotechnology research laboratory and a postdoc or graduate student mentor. The REU intern group meets weekly to share experiences as well as to receive guidance on navigating the campus, managing the demands of research, working with their mentors and faculty, and acquiring the skills and experience to assimilate in a four-year university. Throughout the program, participants deepen their understanding of the scientific concepts of their research and practice sharing their research projects. Each student creates a presentation and poster of their research and results to disseminate at a campus-wide symposium to an audience that includes students, faculty, and the community. Beyond the REU program, past participants are tracked to follow up on their achievements and academic and career path such as transition to four-year universities and STEM degree acquisition.

The program has been offered most summers since 2010 for up to 10 students each summer. Area community colleges work with the university to publicize the REU program and bring in a high number of applicants. Using a rubric to rank the applications, the top applicants are interviewed to probe students’ motivations and interests and final participants are selected. The program is evaluated by an external assessor via surveys, focus groups, interviews, and attendance at the poster presentation and review of the students’ posters. This paper addresses the details of the program, the findings of the evaluation to date, and the program’s successes and sustained impact.

Nichol, C. A., & Obenland, C., & Chow, A., & Crawford, C. A., & Avendano, C. (2017, June), Board # 27 : Promoting STEM Education in Community College Students via Research Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27819

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