Asee peer logo

First Generation Engineering Student Mentoring Program: A Case Study of a Large Engineering School in the U.S.

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

First-year Programs Division: Collection

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Bimal P. Nepal Texas A&M University

visit author page

Dr. Bimal Nepal is Phillips'66 First Year Engineering Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor in the Industrial Distribution Program at Texas A&M University. His research interests include integration of supply chain management with new product development decisions, distributor service portfolio optimization, pricing optimization, supply chain risk analysis, lean and six sigma, and large scale optimization. He has authored 41 refereed articles in leading supply chain and operations management journals, and 47 peer reviewed conference proceedings articles in these areas. He has B.S. in ME, and both M.S. and Ph.D. in IE. He is a member of ASEE, INFORMS, and a senior member of IIE.

visit author page


Michael Johnson Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Michael D. Johnson is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M, he was a senior product development engineer at the 3M Corporate Research Laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University and his S.M. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on design tools; specifically, the cost modeling and analysis of product development and manufacturing systems; computer-aided design methodology; and engineering education.

visit author page


Timothy J. Jacobs Texas A&M University

visit author page

Professor in Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University

visit author page

author page

Mark Weichold Texas A&M University

Download Paper |


Retention and graduation rates are lower for engineering institutions compared to their peers in other fields across the United States. While graduation rates are improving slowly over time due to enrichment programs (such as summer bridge program, research experience, and living learning community), not all groups have performed well; this is especially true of underrepresented minority and first generation (FG) students. Literature suggests that the FG students enter college with “distinct disadvantages” as compared to their peers in many ways including academic preparation and basic knowledge about the college education; this makes their transition from the high school to college environment a difficult process. Two key factors for lack of persistence in this population are widely cited: college adjustment and lack of self-efficacy. FG students benefit from additional support as compared to their non-FG counterparts because they do not matriculate with prior knowledge on how the academic process works. To that end, effective mentoring and counselling can help them through the transitional process. In this paper, a case study of a mentoring program that is specifically designed to help FG engineering students at a major university is presented. The paper discusses the implementation process of the mentoring program including recruiting of faculty/staff mentors, student peer mentors, the mentoring relationship management platform, and the connection plan at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. The paper also presents the survey results of the “initial experience” of mentees and mentors and how that has informed the future strategies to sustain and grow the program.

Nepal, B. P., & Johnson, M., & Jacobs, T. J., & Weichold, M. (2018, June), First Generation Engineering Student Mentoring Program: A Case Study of a Large Engineering School in the U.S. Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30519

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015