June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Minorities in Engineering
15.505.1 - 15.505.11
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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