Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Due to current needs for a diverse and skilled workforce in engineering, the NSF-sponsored Mechanical Engineering (ME) S-STEM Scholarship Program in our institution (2009-present) has provided enhanced educational opportunities to more than 100 economically disadvantaged and academically talented undergraduate students in the ME Department since 2009. The NSF funded S-STEM project focuses resources on financial support, coupled with curricular and co-curricular activities designed to facilitate student degree attainment, career development, employability in STEM-related jobs, and enrollment in graduate school. In addition, our S-STEM program proactively implements engineering research-related activities, including research presentations for recruitment, in-depth lab tours, seminars, REUs, research conference support, featuring research/internship on our website, etc.
In this study, we present preliminary data that reveal the attitudes and perceptions of the current 25 ME S-STEM scholars based on surveys conducted this year. The scholars were asked to provide their opinion on the impact that the activities sponsored by our S-STEM program had on their attitudes and perceptions. Results have demonstrated that faculty and peer mentoring are the most effective methods contributing to positive attitudes and perceptions. In addition, research-related activities such as lab visits, REUs, research seminars, attending research conferences, and internship opportunities are viewed favorably by the scholars as helping them establish their science/engineering self-efficacy and engineering identity, and understand their expectations and goals. On the other hand, in addition to mentoring, community building activities such as program retreats, social events, and being part of a professional society are considered as contributing to help them integrate into the campus life and improve their sense of belonging to the campus and program. In June 2019, all but two scholars were retained in our scholarship program; those who remained in the program consider all S-STEM activities favorable to their retention. Among the 10 scholars who graduated from the ME undergraduate program in the past year, 40% of them stated that they will pursue graduate degree, 20% will work in industry, and the other 40% will work in industry and enroll in a graduate school as a part-time student. Those 10 scholars identified faculty and peer mentoring, all the research-related activities sponsored by our program, internship, and social interaction with faculty and their peers as positive factors that helped them make their decisions.
Zhu, L., & Gurganus, J. R., & Eggleton, C. D., & Ma, R., & Topoleski, T., & Madan, D. (2020, June), Identifying NSF S-STEM Sponsored Program Activities that Have a Positive Impact on Mechanical Engineering S-STEM Scholars Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34746
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