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Board 287: Exploring the Broader Impact of the NSF S-STEM program on the Culture of a Community College Engineering Department

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Jan Edwards College of Lake County

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Jan L. Edwards is an Associate Professor of Engineering at the College of Lake County in Illinois. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering at Michigan Technological University. Ms. Edwards teaches general engineering courses, manages outreach initiatives and the CLC Baxter Innovation Lab at the community college. She is also serving as the Principal Investigator on the college’s NSF S-STEM grant, Building an Academic Community of Engineering Scholars.

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Ana Karen Pizano College of Lake County

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Bradford C. Petersen College of Lake County

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This paper and corresponding poster describe the impact of implementing an NSF S-STEM program on the overall engineering program culture at a Hispanic-serving community college. Lessons learned in earlier grants, including the importance of intentional advising, strong support services, the value of an internship, and the benefits of a makerspace environment shaped the latest proposal. Building an Academic Community of Engineering Scholars, the current grant program has continued these efforts along with collecting quantitative survey data.

Scholarships are provided to academically talented low-income engineering students with the intent of increasing retention as well as successful transfer rates in order to graduate with a bachelor's degree in an Engineering or Computer Science (ECS) field. Since the spring of 2020, 43 unique students have been awarded scholarships. At this time, there are 16 active scholars, 18 have already successfully transferred to complete their ECS degree and 50% of those scholars received an additional S-STEM transfer scholarship. The remaining students have switched to applied degree programs or left college to pursue full-time employment.

To develop a better understanding of the factors influencing student success, a series of overarching questions were developed for the program to examine. The focus was on the concepts of self-efficacy and sense of belonging as they relate to tutoring, experiential learning, (formally in the classroom and informally), and commitment to their degree program. One particular question has been influential in the pedagogical approach to engineering course design over the last four years. “By engaging students in experiential learning, problem-based activities, and prototyping in the Innovation lab at the beginning of their studies; can we increase both the overall number of students in the ECS program and their persistence rates? Does this hold equally true for women and under-represented minorities?” The effects of this question on the overall engineering curriculum, broader community engagement, as well as the obstacles encountered during the pandemic will be discussed as the first three years of the five-year program are examined.

Edwards, J., & Pizano, A. K., & Petersen, B. C. (2023, June), Board 287: Exploring the Broader Impact of the NSF S-STEM program on the Culture of a Community College Engineering Department Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--42778

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