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Impacting the Success of Underrepresented Minorities at Louisiana State University: A Diversity Scholarship and Mentoring Partnership with ExxonMobil

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Developing Young MINDS in Engineering: Part I

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.802.1 - 22.802.13



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Paper Authors

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Sarah Cooley Jones Louisiana State University


Kelly A. Rusch P.E. Louisiana State University Orcid 16x16

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Associate Dean,
College of Engineering

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Del H. Dugas ExxonMobil

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Chemical Engineering Alumnae of Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.

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Impacting the Success of Underrepresented Minorities at XX University: A Diversity Scholarship and Mentoring Partnership with XXThe XX University College of Engineering and XX Corporation identified a need to encourageand assist talented minorities to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering.Enrollment, retention and graduation rates for underrepresented minority engineeringundergraduates at XX were lagging behind the national averages. In 2003, XX Corporationcontributed $250,000 over five years to establish a scholarship fund at XX, and this partnershipwas renewed in 2009 with a second, five-year phase. The initial goals of the program were to:recruit and retain minorities, fund ten scholars for four years each, develop a mentoring programwith XX Corporation employees, and increase the participant graduation rate.Scholars were selected from a pool of applicants based on proven superior academic background,i.e. class rank, ACT scores and high school GPA. The scholarship was initially awarded as anincentive to attend XX, and as it evolved, the scholarship program was implemented as aretention element with the award made during the second semester of the freshmen year aftercontacting candidates during the first semester. The initial award started at an amount equivalentto annual tuition and fees ($3,000) with performance based increases (up to $6,000). To remainin the program, scholars were required to maintain an overall 3.0 GPA. During Phase 1, 19students were part of the program with eight scholars chosen as entering freshmen, and 11participants were dropped from the program due to low GPA or major change. During the twoyears of Phase 2, 13 scholars participated with seven chosen as second semester freshmen andsix chosen as second semester sophomores.The one-on-one mentoring element of the program was directed by the XX liaison who selectedXX engineers and matched them with an XX scholar. Additionally, the liaison coordinatedworkshops and dinner meetings with the mentors and protégés, and these events were utilized tocommunicate expectations, roles and responsibilities of each person. Feedback for this part of theprogram was obtained through discussions during Phase 1, and a formal survey of mentors andprotégés was added during Phase 2. The 62-item survey results showed that the protégés ratedoverall mentoring experience a 4.5 on a scale of 1(low) to 5 (high), and they have reportedseveral positive outcomes including “Better understanding of skills used by engineering, scienceor math professionals.” Likewise, the mentors rated the experience 3.9, and reported severalpositive outcomes such as “Self reflection on my own career.”The partnership and program has succeeded in increasing the engineering retention and degreecompletion rate for the minority scholars. Thirteen of the Phase 1 participants graduated inengineering with an overall mean GPA of 3.005 (s.d.-0.505). Two Phase 1 scholars are on trackto graduate in the current academic year. This yields a Phase 1 minority engineering graduationrate of 78.9%, which far exceeds the overall XX engineering six year graduation rate of 41.4%.Of the Phase 2 scholars, 92.8% have been retained in the engineering curriculum, and they had amean cumulative GPA of 3.171(s.d.-0.407).

Jones, S. C., & Rusch, K. A., & Dugas, D. H. (2011, June), Impacting the Success of Underrepresented Minorities at Louisiana State University: A Diversity Scholarship and Mentoring Partnership with ExxonMobil Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18083

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