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Engagement in Practice: STEM Engagement through Mentoring

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engagement in Practice: Engaging the Community through Educational Outreach

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Mariam Manuel University of Houston

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Mariam Manuel is a graduate of the University of Houston’s teachHOUSTON program and the UTeach Engineering Master’s program at the University of Texas at Austin. In Spring 2016, Mariam returned to the University of Houston to serve as an Instructional Assistant Professor / Master Teacher for teachHOUSTON. In this role, Mariam is charged with teaching and inspiring the next generation of high-quality math and science teachers through inquiry-based instruction and ongoing field experiences. Mariam also teaches Physics 4345 (Physics for Pre-Service Teachers), a course that connects middle school physics state standards with content knowledge and instructional strategies that are designed to enhance student learning. Mariam is also the one of the writers and instructors for the Preparing for AP Physics I Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), offered through the University of Houston. The MOOC has served over 10,000 students in more than 110 different countries.

Mariam previously served as the Instructional Specialist for the Robert Shaw Center for STEAM in the Katy Independent School District (KISD). She was responsible for implementing STEAM curriculum, instruction, and projects appropriate for K-12 students. Additionally, Mariam has taught both on-level and AP Physics I (formerly known as Pre-AP Physics) and played an integral role in writing the district physics curriculum consisting of rigorous labs, activities, and projects.

Mariam fills the role of Alumni Representative on the UTeach STEM Educators Association (USEA) Board and was also elected Secretary-Treasurer. She is also currently pursuing a Ph.D. in STEM education at Texas Tech University.

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Ricky P. Greer University of Houston

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Ricky Greer graduated from Tuskegee University with a bachelor’s in History. He went on to work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a community outreach specialist & unit operations laboratory manager, and through his diligent work he earned the distinction as the Dr. Bruce D. Nesbitt Campus-Community Collaborator Awardee in 2016. Mr. Greer is also a co-founder of St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy (SEBA). SEBA is an educational intervention aimed at exposing underrepresented 4th and 5th grade boys to hands-on, inquiry based STEM activities. SEBA accomplishes its goals through an innovative educational curriculum and by engaging students’ fathers and/or male mentors who learn STEM alongside them. This project has been recognized and funded by local organizations, University of Illinois and most recently, the National Science Foundation. Currently, Mr. Greer is enrolled in the Higher Education M. Ed program at the University of Houston. He is serving as a Graduate Assistant for the Urban Experience Program (UEP) in the Student Affairs Department. UEP provides opportunities for the university’s diverse student population by preventing minor obstacles from becoming major setbacks to degree achievement. Mr. Greer has always had a passion for helping students succeed at navigating the college experience. He strives to promote academic awareness, academic excellence and the development of leadership skills in students. Ricky believes that anything is possible if you have faith and work hard to obtain your dreams. He believes that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”

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Jerrod A Henderson University of Houston (CoE & CoT) Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jerrod A. Henderson (“Dr. J”) is an Instructional Assistant Professor in the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston. He joined the University of Houston after six years as a chemical engineering faculty member at the University of Illinois. He has dedicated his career to increasing the number of students who are in the pipeline to pursue STEM careers. He believes that exposing students to STEM early will have a lasting impact upon their lives and academic pursuits. He is the co-founder of the St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy (SEBA). SEBA is an educational intervention aimed at exposing underrepresented fourth and fifth grade boys to hands-on, inquiry based STEM experiments and activities.

Henderson is a part of the first year engineering experience team and he was recently appointed by the Dean of the College as the Director of the Program for Mastery in Engineering Studies (PROMES), a program aimed at increasing engineering student achievement, engagement, and graduation rates. His research interests are in engineering identity formation and persistence among underrepresented students, especially African American males. He was most recently recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine as an Inspiring STEM Leader Award recipient.

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Virginia Snodgrass Rangel Rangel University of Houston Orcid 16x16

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Virginia Snodgrass Rangel, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Houston, where she teaches courses on program evaluation, research design, and quantitative research methods. Her research interests include STEM education, re-entry of justice-involved youth, policy implementation and evaluation, and program evaluation.

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Less than 30% of students enrolled in the U.S. are proficient in science or mathematics. The landscape becomes more troubling among students who traditionally are underrepresented in STEM. For instance, in 2015, fourth grade Black students scored on average 24 points lower than their White counterparts, and 35 points lower than their Asian American counterparts. When data are disaggregated further by sex, underrepresented males, Black males in particular, underperform Black girls on fourth grade mathematics assessment. Additionally, underrepresented males who graduate from high school complete fewer math and science courses compared to their White and Asian peers, and are less likely to take ‘gatekeeper’ courses such as Pre-Calculus and Calculus. As a way to help counteract the underrepresentation of underrepresented males in STEM, St. Elmo Brady STEM Academy (SEBA), an afterschool and Saturday program was developed to expose underrepresented fourth and fifth grade boys to unique, hands-on STEM experiences. What distinguishes SEBA from other afterschool STEM programs is the inclusion of the students’ fathers and underrepresented undergraduate student mentors. SEBA seeks to systematically expose students to STEM disciplines, STEM professionals, and STEM students with a strong focus on engineering and science competency and motivation. Informed by an Integrated STEM Framework, the project team seeks to investigate 1) In what ways do the fathers/mentors motivate students to become aware of and interested in STEM careers? 2) To what extent does involvement in SEBA shape the students’ and mentors’ STEM identity? Preliminary data suggest a correlation between the number of mentor contact hours and student STEM identity and a positive value added as a result of father interaction. The success of this program hinges on its ability to bridge the gap between universities and the community. There are plans in place to grow the program by expanding to additional schools.

Manuel, M., & Greer, R. P., & Henderson, J. A., & Snodgrass Rangel, V. (2018, June), Engagement in Practice: STEM Engagement through Mentoring Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30391

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