July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Minorities in Engineering
In 2019, the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources, CISTAR, partnered with the National Society of Black Engineer’s Summer Engineering Experience for Kids, NSBE SEEK, to develop a summer program like no other! These diverse, technically- and community-minded individuals will be changing the world!
Program Design Through an NSF Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) summer program, we were able to give students and teachers an opportunity to do six weeks of cutting-edge research at CISTAR, and then “give back” by mentoring kids for four weeks at NSBE SEEK—all in one summer. There were several important design elements that contributed to the success of our 2019 program. Here are four of the most important:
• The program was designed to help deepen the understanding of the connection between theory, research, and application, making the participants better researchers, teachers, and professionals. • The program was designed to enable participants to build a professional network, creating cohorts that would hopefully continue after the summer (as they did). • The program was designed to assess participant gains in research experience, professional development, and mentoring outcomes, as well as look at impact on the future trajectory of their careers. • This program was designed to have broad reach, with cascading impact because of the participants.
Promoting Next Steps The 2019 REM program needs to be expanded so that we can provide more students and teachers a chance to have these two types of experiences in one summer. The CISTAR-NSBE REM program speaks to how we should be designing summer programs and is consistent with the growing body of evidence, such as: “Empirical data suggest that, although students from URM backgrounds value intrinsic motives (e.g., curiosity, enjoyment of problem solving, passion for discovery) for pursuing careers as much as white students do, their career interests are also more likely to be influenced by highly altruistic cultural values” [1,2]. There are several creative ways that we are growing this program that will be captured in the paper.
In closing, looking to the future, if more partnerships like the one between CISTAR and NSBE SEEK are formed around the country, if we scale up and make combined types of summer experiences as prevalent as current summer research experiences, then, as one of our teachers says in the video, having diversity in STEM in the next generation “it’s not a matter of how; it will be just when.”
1. Johnson M. K. Social origins, adolescent experiences, and work value trajectories during the transition to adulthood. Social Forces 2002, 80, 1307-1341.
2. Smith J.L., Cech E., Metz A., Huntoon M., & Moyer C. Giving back or giving up: Native American student experiences in science and engineering Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 2014, 20, 413-429.
Driscoll, D. M., & Drummond Oakes, M. (2021, July), Creating a Diverse Next Generation of Technically- and Community-Minded STEM Professionals (Experience) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36866
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