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Championing Hispanic Student Success following Natural Disasters in Puerto Rico

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

13

DOI

10.18260/1-2--36790

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36790

Download Count

32

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Paper Authors

biography

Carla López del Puerto University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-0334-7208

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Dr. Carla López del Puerto is a professor in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (UPRM). She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Saint Louis University in 2009, M.S. in Construction Management from The University of Oklahoma in 2003 and B.S. in Architecture from Universidad de las Américas Puebla, México in 2000. Prior to joining UPRM, she was a designer and cost estimator for The Benham Companies, an instructor at Southern Illinois University and an assistant professor at Colorado State University. Her research agenda focuses on construction management research and construction education and training.

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Carmen M. Bellido University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus

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As a School Psychologist professor working in the Teacher Preparation Program (TPP) since the year 2000, Dr. Bellido has taught the following courses: Human Development, Educational Psychology, Learning Evaluation; Theory and Methodology in the Teaching of History and Social Sciences; and Student Teaching of Mathematics and of Social Studies in Secondary School among others. As a collaborator in the Psychology Department, she teaches Introduction courses to School Psychology, Fundamentals of Psychology, and the grad course of Learning and Cognition. As the Institutional Coordinator for the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) accreditation under the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), she directs, coordinates, and work in various committees that must complete evaluation cycles to assess the quality of the unit, the programs, teacher candidates, and alumni impact of the TPP. These evaluation cycles require a diverse toolkit of instruments, educational materials, and protocols to collect and analyze usable and useful data for monitoring and improving the TPP. Efficient and effective collection, analysis, and presentation of results to stakeholders are important parts of the work done for the TPP evaluation cycles.
As the UPRM Center for Professional Enrichment coordinator for 12 years, Dr. Bellido was in charge of organizing faculty professional development activities. This placed her in an advantageous position to disseminate vanguard information about education, evaluation theory, and practice which can be useful for both teaching and research faculty. As the UPRM Resource Center for Education Research and Services Center (CRUISE) coordinator since 2002, she has directed and or evaluated more than twenty educational research, professional development, and outreach projects from 2002 to 2020. These educational research and service projects include higher-education ecosystems for retention and graduation of STEM scholars, project-based learning instruction, classroom action research, professional and virtual learning communities, creating online educational materials, professional development and training for pre-service and in-service teachers, professional development for higher education faculty and a major Math and Science Partnership project. CRUISE has also worked with projects serving k-20 students directly. All these projects share common themes of the creation of curricular materials and applying the latest educational research to improve the teaching-learning dynamics giving Dr. Bellido extensive experience using evaluation to improve learning strategies from primary to graduate school.

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Oscar Marcelo Suarez University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-3797-4787

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Professor Oscar Marcelo Suarez joined the University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez in 2000. A Fellow of ASM International, he is the Coordinator of the Materials Science and Engineering graduate program, the first of its kind in Puerto Rico. He is also the director of the university's Nanotechnology Center Phase II, which is supported by the National Science Foundation. Currently, his work focuses on aluminum alloys, metal matrix composites, and concrete modified with nanoparticles as well as biocomposites for biocidal applications. Important components of his interests are education and outreach to underrepresented minorities.

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Mónica Alfaro University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus

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Manuel A. Jimenez University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus

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Dr. Jimenez is a professor at the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department in the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (UPRM). He earned his B.S from Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1986, M.S. from Univ. of Puerto Rico Mayaguez in 1991, and Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1999. His current teaching and research interests include design, characterization, and rapid prototyping of information processing systems, embedded cyber-physical systems, and engineering education. He is the lead author of the textbook Introduction to Embedded Systems: Using Microcontrollers and the MSP430 (Springer 2014). From 2013 to 2018 served as Associate Dean of engineering at UPRM. He currently directs the Engineering PEARLS program at UPRM, a College-wide NSF funded initiative, and coordinates the Rapid Systems Prototyping and the Electronic Testing and Characterization Laboratories at UPRM. He is a member of ASEE and IEEE.

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Abstract

Natural disasters, such as 2017 hurricanes Irma and María, the 2020 earthquakes in Puerto Rico and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, affect students in many aspects including economic, socio-emotional, and academic performance progress. To ensure that students can cope with the aftermath of such searing events, it is necessary to develop initiatives that address these three aspects. Satisfying the financial need is essential, but a long-term solution is mandatory. Hence, providing socio-emotional and academic support and cultivating a sense of purpose are critical to prevent attrition. To secure continued STEM success among students affected by natural disasters, the National Science Foundation has funded several projects at the University of Puerto Rico, a Hispanic Serving Institution. This manuscript presents four NSF-funded projects sharing the common goal of providing support to STEM students to ensure that they succeed despite the said challenges. The first project, titled Nanotechnology Center for Biomedical, Environmental and Sustainability Application, leans heavily on research teams dedicated to design new Nanotechnology platforms to address biomedical and environmental challenges and simultaneously trains a new generation of nanoengineers and nanoscientists throughout the educational echelon starting from public intermediate schools through doctoral programs. The second project, entitled Ecosystem to Expand Capabilities and Opportunities for STEM-Scholars (EECOS), developed an integrated framework that provides support to 62 low-income, talented, STEM students who were severely affected by Hurricane María and 2019-2020 earthquakes (58 undergraduate and 4 graduate). The project provided participants with financial, academic, socio-emotional, and career motivation support needed to complete their programs. The third project, Program for Engineering Access, Retention, and LIATS Success (PEARLS) addresses college access and economic hardships of Low-Income Academically Talented Students (LIATS). It aims at increasing the retention and academic success of talented engineering students coming from economically disadvantaged families. The fourth project, Resilient Infrastructure and Sustainability Education – Undergraduate Program (RISE-UP), has developed an interdisciplinary curriculum to educate cadres of Hispanic students on infrastructure resilience to temper and to overcome the effects of such natural disasters. Three campuses of this institution system collaborate in this interdisciplinary undertaking. Participating students are pursuing undergraduate degrees in engineering, architecture, and surveying who take the entailed courses together and participate in co-curricular activities (both online and in-person through site visits). The new curricular endeavor prepares them to design infrastructure that can withstand the impact of natural events. The expect outcome is to form cohorts of graduates ready to take on real-life infrastructure failures caused by disasters and provide them with an edge in their future professions. The present work provides a range of scalable and portable strategies that universities with underrepresented minorities in STEM programs could deploy to address the immediate and continued needs of students affected by natural disasters to secure academic success. These strategies can contribute to the development of professionals with the skills and experience to deal with severe circumstances such as those effected by natural disasters as well as the preparation to solve infrastructure challenges.

López del Puerto, C., & Bellido, C. M., & Suarez, O. M., & Alfaro, M., & Jimenez, M. A. (2021, July), Championing Hispanic Student Success following Natural Disasters in Puerto Rico Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36790

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