March 27, 2020
March 27, 2020
March 28, 2020
For the past decade, undergraduate research programs have been successful vehicles for retaining students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The experience of working closely with a faculty mentor and being scientifically trained have shown to benefit STEM students academically, particularly so for first-generation STEM students. These first-generation STEM college students are the first in their families to pursue postsecondary degrees, and they are currently an untapped group that has the potential to diversify and increase the engineering and scientific workforce. This study examines the impact of a nine-week summer geoscience research program for undergraduates in engineering-related majors. Self-reported pre-and post-surveys were collected from 2014-2018. The survey focused on the following areas: 1) Research Expectations; 2) Experience, Knowledge, and Ability; 3) Exposure to Research, and 4) Future Goals. There were 49 undergraduates who participated in the study. Descriptive statistics, paired-sample t-tests, and independent t-tests were used to analyze the survey responses between first-generation and non-first-generation college students. Results showed that for first-generation college students, the summer research experience increased their confidence and their knowledge of research methods; it increased their ability: to evaluate the quality of a research study, to discuss research findings, to present research findings, and to design a research poster. Moreover, first-generation college students were more confident in their ability to prepare an application to graduate school. The program also afforded the first-generation college students opportunities to participate and present their research findings at professional conference, and although they found the geoscience research experience challenging, they also found it to be enjoyable.
Liou-Mark, J., & Blake, R., & Li, R. (2020, March), Exploring the Impacts of a Geoscience Research Experience on First-Generation College Students in Engineering-Related Majors Paper presented at 2020 Mid-Atlantic Spring Conference, Baltimore, Maryland. https://peer.asee.org/33937
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