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Enhancement Of Learning Outcome And Retention Of Minority Students In Engineering

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Developing Young MINDS in Engineering - Part II

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.505.1 - 15.505.11



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Paper Authors


Showkat Chowdhury Alabama A&M University

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Dr. Showkat Chowdhury is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL. Dr. Chowdhury has extensive background in teaching undergraduate and graduate students in Mechanical Engineering, and performing research in the fields of Nano-composites, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Heat & Mass Transfer and Combustion. Previously, he worked as a Professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET) and at University of Brighton, U.K. He also worked in the Research Division of Corning Inc. His research funding exceeds 2.9 million dollars. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University, New York and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from BUET.

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Mohamed Seif Alabama A&M University

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Dr. Mohamed A. Seif is a Professor & Chair in the Mechanical Engineering Department at AAMU. He joined AAMU in September 2002. His research experience includes Fatigue and Fracture Analysis, NDE, Health Monitoring of Structures, Quality and Reliability Assessment, Design Optimization, CAD, Robotics, and Laser measurement. He obtained his Ph. D. degree from the University of Central Florida in July 1988. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Alabama. His research funding exceeds $ 1.9 M and has over 80 refereed and non-refereed publications. Dr. Seif has worked as a consultant engineer for several companies such as FMC Corp, Daniels Manufacturing Corp, Inner Millennium Research, and ESA Inc.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Enhancement of Learning Outcome and Retention of Minority Students in Engineering


The participation of African American Engineers in the national workforce is extremely low, which is a real concern and needs immediate attention to improve diversity. This paper first addresses the various causes of this low representation, and then discusses some remedies.

Based on a survey conducted, involvement of undergraduate students in research or projects related to their discipline, financial assistance and proper mentoring were found to be among the top factors that can improve the learning outcome and retention of underrepresented minority students in engineering.

A group of ten undergraduate engineering students were engaged in a challenging project to develop a high power Rocketry Program at Alabama A&M University in cooperation with NASA and Alabama Space Grant Consortium. The students were involved in the design, construction, testing, launching, and recovery of a reusable rocket with a science payload. The activities involved diverse aspects such as planning and scheduling, purchasing, performing calculations and analysis, coordinating logistics, and design reviews. They were mentored by faculty advisors. In addition, several minority students were engaged in undergraduate research utilizing cutting edge technology, which also provided them financial support. Another survey conducted shows that, these research/project experiences have brought excitement in their learning process, had a tremendous impact on their careers, motivated the minority students to become successful engineers, improved their learning outcome and self-confidence, prepared them to join the national engineering workforce and improve diversity, and even motivated some of them to pursue graduate studies. This paper shows that by introducing undergraduate research opportunities, financial support and proper mentoring, the enrollment, retention and successful graduation of underrepresented minority African American Engineers (male and female) can be significantly increased which will lead to a balanced workforce and improve the national economy.

Chowdhury, S., & Seif, M. (2010, June), Enhancement Of Learning Outcome And Retention Of Minority Students In Engineering Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16851

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