June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Women in Engineering
26.606.1 - 26.606.14
Engaging Freshmen Women in Research – Feedback from Students and Best Practices for Faculty Significant research has been focused on increasing the participation of diverse populations inSTEM fields. Many researchers have specifically examined ways to improve recruitment andretention of women in engineering. NSF supported research indicates that “Women students thatparticipate more frequently in support activities are less likely to leave engineering than thosewho do not participate or participate less frequently.” (WECE Final Report, 2010) The objectiveof this paper is to report on lessons learned from a program that has been successful in engagingwomen students early in their engineering studies.The Research Mentorship program provides an experience-based award to freshmen andsophomore women students in the college of engineering and technology at Brigham YoungUniversity. The award, called a mentorship, is designed to place students in a laboratory settingunder the direction of a faculty member and with graduate student mentors. Faculty membersvolunteer as mentors, and students are expected to participate in their lab for approximately 5hours per week for an academic year. The mentorship comes with a stipend that is paid by thecollege from donor funds.The goal of the mentorship experience is to provide new women students with an opportunity tobe involved in research, connect with upperclassmen, form relationships with professors, andinstill confidence as they navigate their way through the challenges of obtaining an engineeringdegree. The ultimate objective of the program is to help retain women students in engineeringand technology majors.The paper provides a detailed description of the program, discusses the benefits and challengesencountered in implementing the program, and lessons learned while implementing andadministrating the program over the past five years. Based on student feedback and input, thepaper suggests best practices for both faculty mentors and student mentees, and summarizes thevalue of the Research Mentorship program to students’ overall academic success. Case studiesare used to demonstrate implementation and illustrate best practices.
Bateman, T. C., & Barrager, L. C., & Peterson, R., & Magleby, S. P. (2015, June), Engaging Freshmen Women in Research – Feedback from Students and Best Practices for Faculty Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23944
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