June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Community Engagement Division
24.677.1 - 24.677.13
How to Recruit and Retain Students using an Engineering Ambassador ProgramThe mission of the engineering ambassador program, in the college of engineering at a largeresearch university in the western United States, is to recruit prospective students intoengineering majors and to retain students who work as engineering ambassadors. The program,as implemented today, is a result of merging two existing programs: the NSF-funded Utah’sEngineers: A Statewide Initiative for Growth and the engineering ambassador program throughthe college of engineering. Engineering ambassadors are charged with preparing and presentinghands-on engineering activities to high school students throughout the state. These activities takeplace in school classrooms, public libraries, on the university campus and diverse locationsaround the state. Undergraduate students share their enthusiasm for studying engineering andhelp others develop personal connections to engineering.Engineering ambassadors promote the value of a college education, inspire prospective studentsto consider engineering as a program of study and to prepare for engineering coursework bytaking rigorous math and science classes. Furthermore, they help students see the value of theirhigh school science and math courses by providing examples of how these subjects are used inspecific applications in different engineering careers. The ambassadors also benefit; theirinvolvement reinforces their career choice and develops their presentation and speaking skills.The program provides the ambassadors with a cohort of other engineering students with sharedpassion and interest in engineering. Participation in this program results in higher graduationrates and a greater interest in continuing on to graduate school. The value of this program is best exemplified by the ambassadors themselves. Two of thecurrent ambassadors have participated in the program for the last four years. Prior to this theyboth attended summer programs run by the college of engineering that were facilitated by formerambassadors. These students were recruited into engineering and consequently joined theambassador program. Data has been collected from the engineering ambassadors and highschool students that has demonstrated the effectiveness of having current engineering studentsshare their enthusiasm with prospective students in a near-peer relationship.The engineering ambassador program has been an integral program with helping to increase theenrollment of entering freshmen students into the college of engineering. While the most visiblebenefit is demonstrated through the increase in freshman enrollment, one-hundred percent of thestudents who have been involved in the ambassador program have been retained and havegraduated from the college of engineering. This illustrates that the program is beneficial not onlyin recruiting prospective students, but also in retaining current students.
Bates, J. S., & Krapcho, K. J., & Orantes, C. (2014, June), How to Recruit and Retain Students using an Engineering Ambassador Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20568
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: © 2014 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