Asee peer logo

Board 39: S-STEM: Academically and Civically Engaged Scientists – Mid-Project Progress Report

Download Paper |


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 Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


LeAnn E. Faidley Wartburg College

visit author page

Dr. LeAnn Faidley is an Associate Professor of Engineering Science at Wartburg College in Waverly, IA. She teaches in the areas of Freshmen Engineering, Mechanics, Materials, and Design. Her pedagogical research areas include methods for improving student engagement with the material, service learning, inquiry based learning, and standards based grading.

visit author page


Christine A. DeVries Wartburg College

visit author page

Dr. Christine DeVries is an Associate Professor at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa with primary teaching responsibilities in general chemistry, physical chemistry, and science for non-majors.
She is a co-PI on the S-STEM program, ACES, serving as liaison to the Institute for Leadership Education, external assessment, and external advisory board. Her research interests include Langmuir films of organic molecules and STEM education.

visit author page


Mariah Birgen Wartburg College

visit author page

Mariah Birgen earned her B. S. in Engineering Physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1991 and her Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1997. She has been employed as a professor of mathematics at Wartburg College since 1997 including earning tenure in 2003 and full professor in 2011. Her interests include teaching mathematics and science through civic engagement (SENCER), teaching calculus through mathematical modeling and differential equations, and inquiry based learning in mathematics. She also dabbles in voting theory, history of mathematics in the British Isles, and anything else about which her students bring to ask her questions.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The Academically and Civically Engaged Scientist (ACES) S-STEM program is designed to help high-achieving STEM students understand their chosen professions and vocations as giving them a responsibility as citizens to serve their community, nation, and the world. The objectives of this program are to (1) recruit diverse students to STEM fields, (2) Retain 85% of scholarship recipients in a STEM field, (3) Increase the civic mindedness and engagement among participants, and (4) Achieve a STEM placement for 90% of the program graduates. In order to meet these objectives, the PI team has implemented a series of well-established methods. Scholarships are awarded to make college more accessible and allow more time for educational opportunities through reduced need for outside employment. The group of ACES students are formed into a cohort to provide a support structure in a community of like-minded scholars with diverse backgrounds. That support structure is enhanced through mentoring relationships with peers, faculty, and alumni who can share experiences and direct students to resources. Finally, students work in teams to complete impactful projects that show them the relevance of the STEM disciplines to the important problems of the world. Throughout all of these activities, students are given ownership of their experiences through choices in the classes, projects, and activities that lead to the learning objectives of the program. Additionally, the students are encouraged to reflect regularly on their experiences, becoming more self-aware and better able to contribute to their society. The ACES program has benefited from partnerships across the campus of Wartburg College, liberal-arts private 4-year institution in Northeast Iowa. This program received funding from the National Science Foundation in the summer of 2013 and is now at the halfway point of the project implementation. This paper will present an overview of the methods implemented as well as lessons learned through the project’s implementation with three cohorts of students and preliminary results of assessment efforts.

Faidley, L. E., & DeVries, C. A., & Birgen, M. (2018, June), Board 39: S-STEM: Academically and Civically Engaged Scientists – Mid-Project Progress Report Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30023

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: © 2018 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