Asee peer logo

Development of A Bootcamp for Freshman Student Success During COVID-19 Transition

Download Paper |


2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 1: Student Success Boot Camps, Summer Bridge Programs, and Living Learning Communities

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Eleazar Marquez Rice University

visit author page

Dr. Marquez is a Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. His research efforts focus on dynamics and vibrations of mechanical systems under various loads. The mathematical models developed include deterministic and stochastic differential equations that incorporate finite element methods. Additionally, Dr. Marquez research efforts focus on developing and implementing pedagogical methods in engineering education.

visit author page


Noe Vargas Hernandez The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

visit author page

Dr. Vargas Hernandez is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at UTexas Rio Grande Valley with expertise on product innovation and entrepreneurship, design thinking, sustainable design, biomedical design, and design education. He has ample experience teaching design and innovation to student teams currently at UTRGV, and previously at UT El Paso and Carnegie Mellon University. He is currently leading an effort to promote Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the departmental and College levels at UTRGV and collaborating with the College of Business. Dr. Vargas has various patents, and over 20 years of expertise and leadership in engineering design, creativity, and innovation.

visit author page


Arturo Fuentes The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

visit author page

Dr. Arturo Fuentes is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UTRGV. He received his Ph.D. at Rice University. His research interest include engineering education, nanomaterials, and finite element analysis. He serves as the associate chair of his department and is involved in different student and faculty success initiatives in his college.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Results from assessment show that passing rates in introductory courses as well as retention rates of first-year students in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at a HSI significantly dropped with the advent of COVID-19. Such results and trends provide an overall perspective on the academic preparation of incoming students. There is a high concern that the necessary skill set (e.g., adaptability, persistence, and performance) of the new cohort of students, who are primarily underrepresented Hispanics from underserved and challenged communities from the Rio Grande Valley, is not optimal for the rigor of engineering education. To this end, an onboarding bootcamp for incoming and transfer students was created to bridge the transition from secondary education to higher education by priming students to overcome academic deficiencies, develop a critical skills portfolio, learn problem-solving techniques, build a sustainable community of mentoring support with faculty and students, and provide a template to sustain academic and professional success during their undergraduate education. The paper presents the bootcamps’ design process steps: curricular analysis, identification of areas of opportunities, skills inventory, and blueprinting process, as well as its initial implementation in the mechanical engineering program. In this regard, the bootcamp was organized over a week span with hands-on engineering activities, faculty and student talks, and engineering lab tours; and was based on a design thinking approach. Daily activities were structured based on Challenge-based Instruction, innovation, design, and mentoring, and focused primarily on promoting critical thinking, being assertive in the face of adversity, making informed decisions, and prioritizing tasks. Results indicate that the bootcamp increased student confidence and established a valuable network system amongst other findings. Future work will focus on expanding the bootcamp to include students from other engineering and computer science departments and to offer the template to other institutions with similar challenges.

Marquez, E., & Vargas Hernandez, N., & Fuentes, A. (2022, August), Development of A Bootcamp for Freshman Student Success During COVID-19 Transition Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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: © 2022 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