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Evaluation of an EPIC Student Experience to Broaden Participation in Engineering Programs (Work in Progress)

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Fethiye Ozis P.E. Northern Arizona University

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Dr. Fethiye “Faith” Ozis is a senior lecturer in the civil and environmental engineering department at Northern Arizona University. Dr. Ozis holds a B.S. in environmental engineering from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She is a licensed Professional Engineer, Environmental, in Arizona.
Dr. Ozis enjoys every dimension of being an engineering educator. She conducts research related to engineering classrooms and innovative pedagogical strategies. Her own intersectionality led to her passion in promoting and researching pathways into STEM especially for underrepresented minority groups.

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Tina Zecher Northern Arizona University

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Tina Zecher is an Evaluation Associate at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. Ms. Zecher received her B.S. degree in Economics/Finance from the University of Texas at Dallas in 1999 and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from NAU in 2018. She will begin her Ph.D. program in Curriculum & Instruction in fall 2021. Ms. Zecher serves as an evaluator and educational researcher on federal and privately-funded grants that focus on improving STEM Education through NAU's Center for Science Teaching and Learning. Her areas of interest include broadening participation in STEM, math curriculum development, and out-of-school time STEM experiences.

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Nena E. Bloom Northern Arizona University

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Dr. Nena Bloom is an evaluator and education researcher at the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Northern Arizona University. The primary area of her work is evaluating STEM education projects that focus on opportunities for, and retention of, K-20 students in STEM areas, majors and fields. She also conducts education research focusing on questions about professional development for educators and how educators support student learning in STEM.

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Recruiting and retaining a diverse talent pool has been long recognized as essential to keep our nations’ economic and intellectual preeminence but is an area in which we continue to fall short. Historical barriers could be lifted by providing institutional initiatives to support underrepresented students in higher education engineering programs. The XXX program was established in fall 2019 to address the needs of and provide support mechanisms for underrepresented minority (URM) groups pursuing baccalaureate degrees in engineering. Under a limited budget, three initiatives were designed to create a respectful and safe environment for students, faculty, and staff, to strengthen community bonds and contribute to the cultivation of diverse student retention in the engineering college: a Speaker Series, a Mentorship Program and Epic Fail. This paper presents the findings from our formative evaluation of the program. Positive preliminary program results were obtained, suggesting improved self-belonging, self- efficacy and career interest in participants. Areas for improvement were identified. It is the authors' hope that this work may provide context for other institutions as they develop initiatives to move towards a more equitable and welcoming space for all students in engineering programs.

Ozis, F., & Zecher, T., & Bloom, N. E. (2021, July), Evaluation of an EPIC Student Experience to Broaden Participation in Engineering Programs (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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