June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
14.401.1 - 14.401.18
Data-Driven Comprehensive Mentorship: How We Are Adapting the Social-Stress Model of Peer Influence at West Virginia University*
Introduction Appalachia encompasses parts of 13 states, stretches from western New York to northeastern Mississippi, and is home to more than 20 million people. Several major cities, including Atlanta, Birmingham, Knoxville, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, are included within the region. However, West Virginia is the only state considered to be entirely within Appalachia’s borders1.
It has long been believed that high-tech industries with higher-paying jobs would improve the lives of residents of Appalachia. Careers in the sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are one route to improved economic stability in the region and improved quality of life for families and communities. Yet, by almost any measure, the difficulties in attracting high school students to STEM careers are exacerbated in Appalachia, and especially in West Virginia. Declining population and, in particular, out-migration of college graduates and in-migration of less-than-high-school graduates characterize the region 2.
McDowell County, West Virginia, has the lowest in-migration of the more-than-400 counties in all of Appalachia 3. More than 20 percent of U.S. residents have college degrees, but only about 14 percent of residents in Appalachia have college degrees, with West Virginia the lowest state on this measure 4. In the most rural Appalachian areas (not counting the large metropolitan areas), the college graduation rate averages only 7.75 percent, with Lincoln County and McDowell Counties in West Virginia at the very lowest end of that scale at 4.72 percent and 4.59 percent, respectively 5. West Virginia has among the highest dependency ratios in the region 6. [Note: Dependency ratio is defined as the number of dependents under age 18, plus dependents over age 64, divided by the number of those persons between 18 and 65, living in the same household, or DR = (n <18 + n>64)/(n 18 – 64)].
Among all 13 states in Appalachia, the northern part of the region, including West Virginia, has the highest mortality at 10.24 persons per 100 residents compared to the U.S. rate of 8.8, complicated by the lowest fertility rates among women 15-44 years of age, at 55.42 births per 100 residents compared to the U.S. rate of 66.70 7.
Residents in Appalachia have lower median family incomes than the rest of the U.S., and in the very poorest areas, the disparity has accelerated 8,12. Not surprisingly, the Appalachian region has high unemployment, with West Virginia's McDowell County second highest in the late 1990s at 22.74 percent for men and 20.84 for women 9. One major industry in Appalachia, coal mining, employed 229,494 workers in 1980, but dropped to 99,801 jobs by 1996; the manufacturing sector in Appalachia lost 202,173 jobs in
Winn, G., & Winn, L., & Curtis, R., & Hensel, R. (2009, June), Data Driven Comprehensive Mentorship In Engineering: How We Are Adapting The Social Stress Model Of Peer Influence Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/4770
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