Asee peer logo

Design of a Scholarship Program for Optimal Impact

Download Paper |


2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Beyond the Classroom: Summer and Scholarship Programs to Engage Minorities

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.374.1 - 23.374.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jeffrey W. Fergus Auburn University

visit author page

Jeffrey W. Fergus received his B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1985 and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990. After a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Notre Dame, he joined the materials engineering faculty at Auburn University, where he is currently a professor.

visit author page


Shirley A Scott-Harris Auburn University

visit author page

Dr. Harris is director of the Alabama Power Academic Excellence Program, an academic support program to assist in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented engineering students at Auburn University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and Management from Alverno College, a Master of Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University, and a PhD in Educational Psychology from Auburn University. Her research focused on comparing the variables that predict the retention of Black pre-engineering students and White pre-engineering students engineering students at a majority university. Dr. Harris directs all program activities in the Academic Excellence Program including recruitment, retention, fundraising, funding through grants and proposals, budget preparation, and student counseling. She oversees the Minority Engineering Program's Living Learning Community, a 3-week summer residential engineering camp, collaborative learning groups, interactive learning labs, Sunday Evening Tutorial sessions and the Academic Excellence Professional Development Workshops. She also instructs a Special Topics in Engineering Success Strategy Course for freshman engineering students.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Design of a Scholarship Program for Optimal ImpactThis paper would fit best in the following topic: Benefits of participating in federally-funded scholarship / fellowship programs that target underrepresented groups. ABSTRACTFederal scholarship programs can provide resources to open up opportunities for students fromunderrepresented groups and thus improve diversity in the engineering workforce. However, thescholarship programs must be designed with this objective in mind to make most effective use ofthe resources. For example, reducing the award size increases the number of students thatreceive support, but the level of support may not be sufficient for the students to complete theirdegrees. On the other hand, using funds to provide very large offers may attract outstandingstudents who may have otherwise attended other institutions, but changing which institutions thestudents attend may not increase the number of underrepresented students in the profession. Inaddition, the scholarship awards need to be complemented with academic support programs sothat students persist to graduation.In this paper, these ideas will be illustrated using results from a National Science FoundationScholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) project thattargets students from underrepresented groups who have financial need, but do not qualify foruniversity-level scholarships. The project provides scholarships of full in-state tuition supportfor up to 4 years, so students can complete their degrees. The requirements are designed to sethigh expectations, but at the same time provide incentives and encouragement for students thatmay have difficulty in the adjustment from high school to college. The students are alsoprovided with various types of academic support. The design of this scholarship program andlessons learned from its implementation will be presented.

Fergus, J. W., & Scott-Harris, S. A. (2013, June), Design of a Scholarship Program for Optimal Impact Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19388

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2013 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015