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CLEAR Scholars in Engineering: Promoting Student Success through Cohort-Building and Industrial Engagement

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

College Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.275.1 - 24.275.8



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Paper Authors


Karen D Alfrey Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Karen Alfrey is a senior lecturer and director of the undergraduate program in biomedical engineering at IUPUI. She has been a member of ASEE since 2003.

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Stephen Hundley Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Stephen Hundley is chair and an associate professor in the department of technology leadership and communication in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. He also serves as IUPUI's associate vice chancellor for strategic initiatives.

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Terri L. Talbert-Hatch Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

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Dr. Terri Talbert-Hatch is the assistant dean for student services in the School of Engineering and Technology, IUPUI. In this position, she is responsible for recruitment of undergraduate students, scholarships, career services, and the school's residential-based learning communities, which include two apartment buildings on campus and one floor in the newest residence hall on campus – IUPUI Tower. She is the faculty adviser to the school’s student council and the Society of Women Engineers student organization but, also supports all the school’s student organizations. Dr. Talbert-Hatch is co-chair of the school’s Diversity Council and chair of the IUPUI Sophomore Student Success Committee. She also serves on various IUPUI committees related to student success and financial aid and is a lecturer for Motorsports Engineering and also teaches a summer bridge class for STEM students living on campus.

Dr. Talbert-Hatch serves as the treasurer for the CEED Division of ASEE.

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David J. Russomanno Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

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David J. Russomanno is dean of the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Before joining IUPUI, he was the R. Eugene Smith Professor and Chair of the department of electrical and computer engineering within the Herff College of Engineering at the University of Memphis. Prior to his academic career, Russomanno was employed by Intergraph Corp., Pratt and Whitney Aircraft, and Michelin Tire Corporation as an engineer. Russomanno has secured several million dollars in extramural funding for basic and applied research, as well as for initiatives to improve the recruitment and retention of STEM students. Sponsors of his research include the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the U.S. Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, the U.S. Army Redstone Technical Test Center, and numerous sponsors from the private sector. His research interests include intelligent sensors and supporting software infrastructure, knowledge representation and inference, data and knowledge visualization, software engineering, logic programming applications, and STEM education. Russomanno received his B.E.E. in electrical engineering from Auburn University in 1986, and an M.E. in electrical and computer engineering (1989) and Ph.D. (1993) in computer engineering from the University of South Carolina.

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CLEAR Scholars in Engineering: Promoting Student Success through Cohort-Building and Industrial EngagementFunded by a National Science Foundation S-STEM grant, the CLEAR Scholars in Engineeringprogram provides financial support, mentoring, and leadership and career development toundergraduate students with demonstrated potential to succeed in engineering, but who facesignificant financial challenges, possibly in combination with other barriers to meeting their fullacademic potential, such as being a first-generation college student or a member of anunderrepresented group. Students enter the CLEAR Scholars program as sophomores; this levelis chosen as the point of intervention both because students will have already completedfreshman-level coursework, demonstrating preparedness for engineering, and because theresources offered by this program help bridge the gap between the strong foundation of academicand social support offered by freshman programs and the career development support that manystudents do not engage with until the junior or senior year. In addition to scholarship support,CLEAR Scholars are provided with an intentional set of activities that promotes studentretention, achievement, and persistence to graduation through: (a) Community-building througha cohort model; (b) Leadership and career development; (c) Engagement with industry; (d)Advising through mentoring; and (e) Resources for academic success (hence the acronymCLEAR). The ultimate goal of this project is to produce engineering baccalaureate degreegraduates with lower student loan indebtedness and greater preparation for post-degree roles.Although the program is still in its early stages, so far it is on-track to meet its stated goals. Ofthe nine students who entered the first CLEAR Scholars cohort in Fall 2012, all nine remain intheir chosen engineering majors and are making good progress toward graduation. This is astrongly positive outcome for a cohort that includes four 1st-generation college students as wellas four students who are members of underrepresented ethnic groups. We have leveragedconnections in the Dean’s Industrial Advisory Council for the School of Engineering andTechnology to engage industry leaders in our monthly cohort activities, which last year includedan industry-led workshop on Leadership in the Workplace and an extensive site visit toRaytheon. In part as a result of these experiences, our Scholars have been proactive in seekingout industrial internship and co-op opportunities: two participated in internships or co-ops inSpring 2013, and another two are participating in Fall 2013. We present our early results andlessons learned from the process of getting this program off the ground, as well as our plans forcontinued growth.

Alfrey, K. D., & Hundley, S., & Talbert-Hatch, T. L., & Russomanno, D. J. (2014, June), CLEAR Scholars in Engineering: Promoting Student Success through Cohort-Building and Industrial Engagement Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20166

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