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Building S-STEM scholars' knowledge and skills through technical and career-development seminars

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Katerina Goseva-Popstojanova West Virginia University

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Dr. Katerina Goseva-Popstojanova is a Professor at the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical
Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. Her research interests are in software
engineering, cybersecurity, and data analytics, as well as in higher education focused on these areas. She
has served as a Principal Investigator on various NSF, NASA, and industry funded projects. She leads the
B.S. in Cybersecurity program and serves as Academic Coordinator of the M.S. in Software Engineering
Program at West Virginia University. She has served on program and organizing committees of many
international conferences and workshops.

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Erin Carll

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Erin Carll is a research scientist at the University of Washington Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (CERSE). She is a sociologist by training. She is experienced in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. She has instructed a variety of undergraduate courses, including statistics, research practicums, sociology of education, and sociology of housing.

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Elizabeth Litzler University of Washington

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Elizabeth (Liz) Litzler, Ph.D., is the Director of the Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (CERSE) at the University of Washington (UW) and an Affiliate Assistant Professor in UW Sociology. She was the 2020-2021 Chair of the ASEE Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (CDEI). She is a former Board Member of Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN) and the recipient of the 2020 WEPAN Founders Award. She has led social science research projects such as the UW portion of NSF funded Revolutionizing Engineering Departments Participatory Action Research (REDPAR) and the Sloan funded Project to Assess Climate in Engineering (PACE). She also manages program evaluations that provide actionable strategies to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM fields. This includes evaluation of NSF ADVANCE, S-STEM, INCLUDES, and IUSE projects, and climate studies of students, faculty, and staff. Her social science research covers many topics and has used critical race theories such as Community Cultural Wealth to describe the experiences of systemically marginalized students in engineering.

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Robin Hensel West Virginia University

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Robin A.M. Hensel, Assistant Dean for Freshman Experience in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University, leads a team of passionate faculty in the Fundamentals of Engineering Program who provide first-year students with high-quality, challenging, and engaging educational experiences to facilitate the transition to university life and prepare for success in their engineering majors and future careers.

Hensel holds a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction, focusing on STEM teaching in higher education, and B.S. and M.A. degrees in Mathematics. Prior to joining academia, she worked with engineering teams and in project management and administration as a Mathematician and Computer Systems Analyst for the U. S. Department of Energy. She has over 30 years of experience teaching mathematics, statistics, computer science, and fundamental engineering courses as well as serving in several administrative roles within higher education. Throughout her career, Hensel has created a childcare facility at a federal research lab, coached middle school MATHCOUNTS students, facilitated STEM K-12 teacher training, built an undergraduate first-year engineering program at a large R1 research institution and a Molecular Biology/Biotechnology masters’ degree program at a small internationally-focused teaching institution, lived on-campus as a Resident Faculty Leader for an engineering-focused residence hall, and secured over $5 million in funding and support for STEM education research, focusing on student success, inclusion, and retention, and including funds for summer bridge programs and scholarships for underrepresented students. She has been recognized for her excellence in teaching, advising, and service, and as an Exemplary Faculty Member for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

An active ASEE member since 2005, Hensel has reviewed and presented papers, moderated sessions, planned division social events and regional conferences, and served for 10 years on the First-year Programs Division Executive Board, including as program and division chair.

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This paper first presents an overview of the objectives and the accomplishments of the S-STEM ACCESS project and then focuses on a specific ACCESS program activity - the technical and career-development seminars and panels - which support ACCESS scholars' knowledge and skills development and contribute toward achieving several project objectives. The technical seminars exposed students to state-of-the-art topics and industry practices related to the rapidly evolving field of cybersecurity. The career-development seminars included topics on obtaining security clearances, understanding different cybersecurity workforce career paths, as well as on pursuing graduate degrees and research-centered careers. Since seminars and panels were open to all West Virginia University (WVU) students, they helped publicize the ACCESS program and the B.S. and Area of Emphasis (AoE) in Cybersecurity and therefore also served as a recruitment mechanism. The results of the external evaluation showed that the seminars and panels were of exceptional value to students who unanimously gave them high positive scores. Qualitative responses to the survey and focus group input revealed that students appreciated the seminars for providing opportunities to connect with professionals and peers, to learn about potential career paths, to gain the knowledge and confidence needed to successfully secure an internship position, and other benefits.

Goseva-Popstojanova, K., & Carll, E., & Litzler, E., & Hensel, R. (2022, August), Building S-STEM scholars' knowledge and skills through technical and career-development seminars Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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: © 2022 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