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Four Years Of Helping Underrepresented Students Succeed In Engineering

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Retention Programs for Women Students

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.762.1 - 12.762.13

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Paper Authors


Gretchen Hein Michigan Technological University

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Gretchen Hein is a lecturer in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at Michigan Technological University. She received her BSME at Kettering University in Flint, MI and her MSE at Purdue University and Ph.D. from Michigan Technological University. Prior to pursuing her master’s degree, she worked as a mechanical engineer at General Motors Corporation. Gretchen teaches first year engineering courses and Thermo/Fluids for non-Mechanical Engineers.

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Amy Monte Michigan Technological University

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Amy E. Monte is a lecturer in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals at Michigan Technological University. She received her BS and MS in Environmental Engineering at Michigan Technological University. Amy teaches first year engineering courses and AutoCAD for Civil Engineers. Amy is also an academic advisor of students in Engineering Undecided and Biomedical Engineering.

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Kerri Sleeman Michigan Technological University

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Kerri Sleeman is the ExSEL Director at Michigan Technological University. She has a BSME from Michigan Tech and is currently working on her Masters in Engineering degree. She is active in implementing initiatives around campus to improve student retention and diversity.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Four Years of Helping Underrepresented Students Succeed in Engineering abstract

The Michigan Tech GUIDE (Graduate and Undergraduate Initiative for Development and Enhancement) began in the Fall of 2002. This NSF funded program helps engineering students from underrepresented groups succeed academically through mentoring, engineering seminars, and career development initiatives. During the grant period, over 70 undergraduate and graduate students have participated in the program. From the beginning of the program, the GUIDE undergraduates have out performed the average College of Engineering (COE) student in several ways (See Table below):

• They have participated in campus activities at a higher rate than the university average; • They have obtained co-ops at rates exceeding the national and Michigan Tech averages; • They have initiated a service component to the program that was not in the grant proposal.

GUIDE and COE Participation Undergraduate GUIDE Scholars COE Work Study 57% 45% Co-Op (National Average: 9%) 15% 12% Study Abroad 2% 2% Enterprise 20% 10%

Academically, the GUIDE scholars have performed at the same level or better as the COE. This finding was surprising because many of the GUIDE undergraduates faced academic challenges when they started engineering school. For example, a higher percentage of the GUIDE first year students were not ready to take Calculus. They also had lower ACT/SAT scores than the average first year engineering student.

This paper will briefly describe the program. Its main focus will be outlining the successes of the program through the presentation of program data and will hypothesize why these successes have occurred.


Going to college is a difficult transition for any first year student. For minorities and women engineering students, attending a university where there are few underrepresented students can cause additional problems and stress as well as feelings of isolation 1,2. Problems of transition, when coupled with financial worries, lead to attrition for many of these students. To ease the transition for these students and ensure their success, programs should be instituted where they

Hein, G., & Monte, A., & Sleeman, K. (2007, June), Four Years Of Helping Underrepresented Students Succeed In Engineering Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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