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Board 3: CLEAR Scholars in Engineering: Academic, Career, and Leadership Development to Help Students with Financial Challenges Achieve their Full Academic Potential

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Karen D. Alfrey Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Karen Alfrey is a Clinical Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering at IUPUI. After serving as the Associate Chair and Director of the Undergraduate Program in Biomedical Engineering, in 2018 she transitions to the role of Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Programs in the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. She has been a member of ASEE since 2003.

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Funded by a National Science Foundation S-STEM grant, the CLEAR Scholars in Engineering program provides financial support, mentoring, and leadership and career development to undergraduate students with demonstrated potential to succeed in engineering, but who face significant financial challenges, possibly in combination with other barriers to meeting their full potential, such as being a first-generation college student or a member of an underrepresented group. In addition to scholarship support, CLEAR Scholars are provided with an intentional set of activities that promotes student retention, achievement, and persistence to graduation through: (a) Community-building through a cohort model; (b) Leadership and career development; (c) Engagement with industry; (d) Advising through mentoring; and (e) Resources for academic success (hence the acronym CLEAR). The ultimate goal of this project is to produce engineering graduates with lower student loan indebtedness and greater preparation for post-degree roles. After five years, 13 out of 14 students who participated in the program so far successfully completed an engineering degree; and of those graduates, 12 out of 13 remain in a STEM field either in an industry or academic job or in a post-baccalaureate educational program. We have found that participants in the program have been significantly more likely than average to pursue an industrial or research internship as an undergraduate, contributing both to retention in their chosen fields and post-graduation success.

Alfrey, K. D. (2018, June), Board 3: CLEAR Scholars in Engineering: Academic, Career, and Leadership Development to Help Students with Financial Challenges Achieve their Full Academic Potential Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30002

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