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Comparing Effectiveness of Peer Mentoring for Direct Admit and College-Ready Freshmen

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

NSF Grantees: S-STEM 1

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Teresa J. Cutright University of Akron

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Dr. Cutright is a Professor of Civil Engineering at The University of Akron. She has a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering with emphasis on environmental remediation techniques with over 20 years of experience conducting site assessments, soil characterizations and treatability studies for a variety of environmental contaminants. In addition she also conducts education research via an EPA education grant and a NSF Scholarships for STEM education. Most recently she and her colleagues were awarded a NSF collaborative research grant to host workshops to broaden the participation of underrepresented minorities that in engineering.

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Rebecca Kuntz Willits University of Akron Orcid 16x16

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Rebecca Kuntz Willits is the Margaret F. Donovan Endowed Chair for Women in Engineering, a professor and interim department chair in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at The University of Akron and a member of the National Center for Regenerative Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. She obtained her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at Tufts University, her MS in chemical engineering at Johns Hopkins University and her PhD in chemical engineering at Cornell University. Her current research interests are at the intersection of nerve regeneration, tissue engineering, and biomaterials, and are funded by the NSF and NIH. As an educator, she has received STEM-based funding from the National Science Foundation to support undergraduate research, STEM scholarships, and diversity.

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The University of Akron has had two National Science Foundation (NSF) funded science, technology, engineering and mathematics scholarship (S-STEM) programs. The cohort of the first S-STEM program (2010-2015) were students that were directly admitted to their selected discipline’s department. The current NSF S-STEM cohort (2015-2020) is a mix of students who were either directly admitted to their major or college-ready students. The university classifies college-ready students as those who are ready for college but lack either a requisite high school GPA, ACT score or completion of a high school science or math course. Each program spanned five years with science disciplines typically graduating in four years and engineering students that participated in co-operative education graduating in five years. The final year of each S-STEM was used to provide peer mentoring in a pseudo-formal environment. In each, seniors who had already participated in the S-STEM program for four years mentored new freshmen for one year. This paper will describe demographics of each S-STEM cohort, the activities used during the peer mentoring, observable differences between direct admit and college-ready freshmen with respect to peer mentoring, and possible peer mentoring activities that can be implemented at other institutions.

Cutright, T. J., & Willits, R. K. (2020, June), Comparing Effectiveness of Peer Mentoring for Direct Admit and College-Ready Freshmen Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34309

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