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Development and Implementation of an Introduction to Research Winter Internship Program for Underrepresented Community College Students

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Research Experiences at Two-year Colleges

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

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Paper Authors


Nicholas Patrick Langhoff Skyline College

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Nicholas Langhoff is an associate professor of engineering and computer science at Skyline College in San Bruno, California. He is also a co-investigator for multiple grant projects at Cañada College in Redwood City, California. He received his M.S. degree from San Francisco State University in embedded electrical engineering and computer systems. His educational research interests include technology-enhanced instruction, online education, metacognitive teaching and learning strategies, reading apprenticeship in STEM, and the development of novel instructional equipment and curricula for enhancing academic success in science and engineering.

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Amelito G Enriquez Canada College Orcid 16x16

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Amelito Enriquez is a professor of Engineering and Mathematics at Cañada College in Redwood City, CA. He received a BS in Geodetic Engineering from the University of the Philippines, his MS in Geodetic Science from the Ohio State University, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine. His research interests include technology-enhanced instruction and increasing the representation of female, minority and other underrepresented groups in mathematics, science and engineering.

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Despite increasingly urgent calls to broaden the participation of underrepresented minorities (URMs) in engineering, not much progress has been achieved. Since 2000, underrepresented minorities’ shares in engineering and physical science degrees have been flat despite a rapid increase in their representation of the overall US population. In fact, even though URMs currently constitute 30 percent of the US population, they account for only about 12.5 percent of baccalaureate degrees awarded in engineering. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Report Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics states a critical need to dramatically increase the number of STEM graduates by addressing the retention problem in the first two years of college. One of their recommendations was to engage students in research experiences within the first two years of college. Through a grant from the Department of Education Minorities in Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP), XXXX, a Hispanic-serving community college from Northern California developed the Accelerated STEM Pathways through Internships, Research, Engagement, and Support (ASPIRES) project, a collaborative initiative that addresses identified barriers to student success using high-impact educational practices that have been shown to enhance interest, increase participation, and improve outcomes for underrepresented minority students in STEM. One of the main components of this project is a three-tiered internship program that that is suitable for community college students and provides multiple exposures to undergraduate research opportunities. This paper focuses on the first tier of this initiative, the development and implementation of the ASPIRES Scholars Research Program: a two-week introduction to research internship experience. Held during the winter break, the program introduces freshmen and rising sophomores to scientific research as well as a variety of topics and skills such as applying for internships; introduction to the research process; university laboratory tours; library presentation on conducting literature reviews; the university transfer process for community college students; technical presentation skills; and project-specific topics including experimental methods, instrumentation, and data acquisition and error analysis. The paper provides a detailed description of the program curriculum, results from the Winter 2016 cohort, and key findings on program outcomes relating to changes in students’ engagement in their academics, confidence in applying for and obtaining further internships, transfer preparedness, teamwork ability, and sense of self-efficacy.

Langhoff, N. P., & Enriquez, A. G. (2017, June), Development and Implementation of an Introduction to Research Winter Internship Program for Underrepresented Community College Students Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28155

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