New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Community Engagement Division
The motivations of volunteer Head Mentors over the nine year history of DREAM-Achievement through Mentorship are investigated. This engineering outreach program has impacted thousands of underserved, underrepresented high school mentees. The program focuses on high mentoring contact hours. Over 200 mentors, primarily undergraduate engineering students, have volunteered in DREAM and as of 2015 over 100 had completed their undergraduate degrees. Of these former mentors, 25 served as Head Mentors as of spring 2015. These Head Mentors oversee the program at each school, develop design projects, organize and direct the other mentors, suggest and implement new initiatives in the program, and carry out research on the outcomes and effectiveness of the program. The Head Mentors volunteer a particularly large amount of time over their commitment of at least 3 semesters. An adaptation of Clary and Snyder’s Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI) provides a quantitative indication of motivations indicating that volunteer Head Mentors are overwhelmingly motivated by the Values function, related to altruistic and humanitarian concern for others. Qualitative analysis of free response questions in the internally developed Mentors Self-Assessment Survey (MSAS) indicates that the Pre-existing Personal Values concept is responsible for this motivation. While other motivations are also important to the Head Mentors, this study indicates that the clearest way to identify dedicated volunteers is through measurement of their values instilled since childhood. Additionally, results of the qualitative analysis indicate that Head Mentors placed high importance on the concepts of Skills Development, Awareness/Impact and Interactions all experienced as part of their Head Mentoring roles. Most Head Mentors demonstrated increased satisfaction with their undergraduate education as a result of participation in DREAM, as measured by the External Application concept. Surprisingly, the concept of Emotional Gain, including categories such as personal fulfillment, self-confidence, and satisfaction associated with mentoring rarely appeared in responses.
Sullivan, J. L., & Daniels, D., & Butler, I. O., & Houchens, B. C. (2016, June), Exploring Motivations of Volunteer Undergraduate Head Mentors in Engineering Outreach to Underserved and Underrepresented K-12 Mentees Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26853
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