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Closing the STEM Labor Gap through a Path to Graduation for Low Income, Rural Students

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

NSF Grantees: S-STEM 3

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34291

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34291

Download Count

118

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Paper Authors

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Paul D. Adams University of Arkansas

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Paul D. Adams, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Associate Professor, Cellular and Molecular Biology
Distinguished Faculty Member, The Honors College
University of Arkansas
119 Chemistry Building
phone:(479)575-5621
email: pxa001@uark.edu
Fayetteville, Ar. 72701
website: http://chemistry.uark.edu/4881.php

Dr. Paul D. Adams is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He earned a B.S. in biochemistry from Louisiana State University, and a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from Case Western Reserve University. Currently, Adams is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, as well as Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (UAF). At UAF, Adams studies the biochemistry and biophysics of proteins that play roles in the onset of cancer, and his research has garnered more than $3,000,000 in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI), the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA), and the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute since 2007.

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Xochitl Delgado Solorzano University of Arkansas

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Xochitl Delgado Solorzano is the director of the Honors College Path Program at the University of Arkansas. In this capacity she oversees all aspects of the Path Program, including recruitment and student success, grant requirements, and fundraising.

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Wenjuo Lo University of Arkansas

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Dr. Wen-Juo Lo is an Associate Professor in the Educational Statistics and Research Methodology (ESRM) program at the University of Arkansas. His research interests involve methodological issues related to analyses with a focus on psychometric methods. The recent research agenda concentrates statistical methods for the detection of bias in psychological measurement, especially measurement invariance on latent factor models. In addition, he also conducts research to develop effective latent variable model and instrument that reflects the factors of college students’ retention.

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Carol S. Gattis University of Arkansas

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Dr. Carol Gattis is the Associate Dean Emeritus of the Honors College and an adjunct Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Arkansas. Her academic research focuses on STEM education, developing programs for the recruitment, retention and graduation of a diverse population of students, and infusing innovation into engineering curriculum. Carol is also a consultant specializing in new program development. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the U of A and has served on the industrial engineering faculty since 1991.

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Jennie S. Popp Ph.D. University of Arkansas Honors College

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Jennie Popp, Ph.D. is a Professor of Agricultural Economics and the Associate Dean of the Honors College at University of Arkansas. As Associate Dean, Dr. Popp contributes to student success initiatives through the management of Honors College study abroad and research grant programs, the facilitation of the development of service learning and other new courses, promotion of undergraduate research activities and in contributions to the PTG and Honors College Path programs. Her research has focused on identification and implementation of sustainable agricultural best management practices. She has been the lead or co-principle investigator on over $20 million in federally competitive grants to support her research.

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Abstract

With the current shortage of STEM graduates in the United States and the demand continuing to increase, it is imperative that STEM students from previously untapped populations are recruited and graduated. The NSF-funded program, Closing the STEM Labor Gap through a Path to Graduation for Low Income, Rural Students (PTG), reaches into rural populations to recruit students from low-income families (Pell and/or subsidized Stafford loan eligible) into STEM disciplines at the University of Arkansas. The goal of this program is to not only support students’ financial needs but also provide accessible academic support and instructional guidance to help students succeed. In general, the recruited students come from small, underfunded rural school districts and thus lack typical academic preparation. Although they demonstrate as high-achieving students, their communities often lack a “college-going” culture. PTG initiatives are designed to remove financial, academic and social barriers and to provide a unique opportunity to support these rural students.

PTG recruitment reaches into the rural communities and recruits a diverse body of students with high school GPAs of at least 3.50 and ACT or SAT scores ranging between 23-27 or 1290-1550, respectively. These students demonstrate promising achievements (considering their learning environment) but are not often recruited and are often ineligible for large university scholarships due to their moderate ACT/SAT scores. Two cohorts of 27 students total were recruited to date, nine women and 16 underrepresented minorities. PTG will add at least 9 more students in 2020. PTG scholars receive scholarships and participate in a summer bridge program, faculty and peer mentoring, academic success advising, a first-year living community, and on-campus and industry-based research opportunities. Faculty mentors receive three training sessions to develop strategies to specifically engage this student population. Insights on PTG’s impact are inferred by comparing PTG students with students not involved in PTG but with similar academic disciplines and demographics. To assess program effectiveness, the PTG team adapted Tinto’s student retention model and assembled the baseline and follow-up surveys. These surveys involving eleven subscales were developed or adapted from existing validated surveys. Two subscales (initial perceived social support and pre-college schooling) are surveyed only in the first semester, and two subscales (academic/social integration and institutional experiences) are only surveyed only in the second semester. The remaining seven subscales (academic self-efficacy, career self-efficacy, self-regulation, perceived social support and financial support attitudes, goal commitment, institutional commitment, and desire to finish college) will be surveyed each semester for the duration of the project. Results and discussion of the PTG surveys, student academic performance and retention data is presented.

Adams, P. D., & Delgado Solorzano, X., & Lo, W., & Gattis, C. S., & Popp, J. S. (2020, June), Closing the STEM Labor Gap through a Path to Graduation for Low Income, Rural Students Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34291

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