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High School to STEM - Dean's Early Research Initiative

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Pre-College: Techniques and Programs for Promoting Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Afroditi Vennie Filippas Virginia Commonwealth University

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Dr. Filippas received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Patras, Greece. After earning her M. S. and Ph. D. from the University of Texas at Austin, she completed post-doctoral research with the Institute of Accelerating Systems and Applications in Athens, Greece. Post-academically, she worked for Ansoft Corporation as a research scientist spearheading the development of the next generation code for Ansoft DesignerTM. Dr. Filippas joined Virginia Commonwealth University as an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering in 2004. She went on to achieve the position of Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2008. In 2010, Dr. Filippas agreed to serve as interim associate dean of undergraduate studies in the School of Engineering. Dr. Filippas was appointed to the position of associate dean of Undergraduate Studies in 2015, and was promoted to Professor in August, 2016. In this role, she is responsible for all aspects of the undergraduate program. She provides vision and leadership in achieving the School’s objectives for substantial growth in the size and quality of its undergraduate enrollment while maintaining its commitment to excellence in undergraduate engineering education. Focus areas include contemporary teaching and learning technologies, capstone, VIP, special degree programs with partnering academic institutions, and K-12 outreach. Dr. Filippas is especially proud of her collaboration with NSBE at VCU, an organization that embodies excellence in academics as well as community service, leadership and diversity. In addition, Dr. Filippas was instrumental in establishing oSTEM on the campus as well as reaching out to other underrepresented minority groups to further the university’s commitment to student success and inclusive excellence.

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Lorraine M. Parker Virginia Commonwealth Universtiy

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Dr. Parker received her Ph.D. from Swansea University in 1981. She was a faculty member in Computer Science at VCU for 32 years. Since retiring she now works as the Director of Diversity and Student Programs for the School of Engineering at VCU.

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As part of an outreach and diversity program to attract local area youth to engineering, VCU’s School of Engineering initiated a collaborative program called “Dean’s Early Research Experience” (DERI) with area high schools that introduced students to the exciting world of research and development. These students were placed with engineering research teams within four engineering and one computer science discipline. The program was so successful that it has doubled in size within the span of three years. The students participating are culturally diverse and include a high percentage of female students. In the program, student scholars complete a total of 60 hours of research during the summer; they continue the fellowship into the school year, completing a total of 130 hours. The experience culminates in a joint symposium where current fellows present their work in a poster session. The symposium ends with the awarding of certificates to graduates of the program and the induction of the new fellows. This program provides a unique opportunity for the high school fellows as well as the graduate mentors. In the execution of this experience, fellows gain insight into STEM research while graduate students gain valuable experience in mentoring others through a research project. This program has grown exponentially from ten applicants in its first year to 32 applicants in year three. In the paper, we will present results on the evolution of the program, program assessment, results from satisfaction and attainment surveys from student scholars and their graduate mentors, as well as discuss the effectiveness of the program in attaining diversity and recruiting excellent students to the VCU School of Engineering as well as plans for improvement of the program and its potential for growth.

Filippas, A. V., & Parker, L. M. (2017, June), High School to STEM - Dean's Early Research Initiative Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28435

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