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Implementing a Bridge Camp and Intro. Course: Lessons Learned from a Phase 1 STEP Grant

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Off the Beaten Path

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.732.1 - 25.732.18



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Paper Authors

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Summer Dann Louisiana State University


Paige Davis Louisiana State University

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Paige Davis has 22 years of experience in the College of Engineering at Louisiana State University. For the past two years, she has directed a study abroad program specifically designed for engineering students. In addition to teaching, she assists with the STEP program. She received her bachelor's degree in engineering technology and master’s degree in industrial engineering.

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Warren N. Waggenspack Jr. Louisiana State University

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Warren N. Waggenspack, Jr. is currently the Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Engineering and holder of the Ned Adler Professorship in mechanical engineering at Louisiana State University. He obtained both his bachelor's and master's degrees from LSU ME and his doctorate from Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering. He has been actively engaged in teaching, research, and curricula development since joining the LSU faculty in 1988. As Associate Dean, he has acquired funding from NSF to support the development of several initiatives aimed at improving student retention and graduation rates as well as supporting faculty with development with effective learning and teaching pedagogies. This work in this manuscript was funded in part by NSF STEP Grant DUE 0622524, 2006.

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Implementing a Bridge Camp and Intro Course, Lessons Learned from a Phase 1 STEP Grant XXX University implemented Engineering Engagement for Student Success, aphase 1 STEM Talent Expansion Program grant funded by the National ScienceFoundation. This paper contains the lessons learned to execute and grow this program.The XX STEP grant consisted of several components aimed at building a community forincoming freshmen students to get them engaged and connected to the College ofEngineering. The ultimate goal of a STEP grant is to increase the number of STEMgraduates; for XX University the primary goal was to increase engineering graduates. The main freshmen components are the Encounter Engineering Bridge camp andthe ENGR 1050, Introduction to Engineering freshmen class. A subsequent outgrowth ofthese programs was a peer-mentoring program. Modifications to the programs based onstudent, instructor and industry feedback have continuously been implemented toimprove the quality of the program. Adjustments to staffing and funding have beennecessary through the years to accommodate the changing enrollment. In addition, theinformation presented as been updated and revised to best meet the needs of the studentsand meet the overall goals of the grant. The initial bridge camp included sessions in physics, 7 Habits of Highly EffectivePeople ®, learning strategies, and engineering design. The first year started with 45incoming freshmen and 5 upper classmen, peer mentors, acting as team guides. This pastyear the camp had 140 incoming freshmen and 60 upperclassmen serving as team leaders,group leaders, instructors and sessions’ leads. The camp sessions now include 3 mathsessions (varies depending on incoming math level), physics, engineering design, studentorg and other personal and professional development sessions. The class has consistently attracted approximately 60 students per fall semester.The class has included career development sessions such as resume writing, mockinterviews, faculty “discipline chats” and a design project. In 2009, due to the success ofthe peer mentors with the camp, peer mentor team leads were introduced to the class.The class started with 7 peer mentors and now has 15 with a group leader. In 2010 thepeer mentors took on the role of a design session lead introducing the competition andacting as judges. In order to determine if the STEP project is meeting its goal of increasinggraduates in the College of Engineering, retention of students involved in the STEPprograms were compared with those who were not involved. Overall the students whoare involved with the STEP program are retained at a higher number. In 2011 thegraduation of the first class recorded was approximately 10% higher than those who didnot participate in any freshmen program. A more in depth comparison of these twoprograms, including the incoming level of the students, their retention and grades hasbeen initiated. A survey is being developed to get attitudinal data of past participants tosee if one of these programs is more beneficial that the other.

Dann , S., & Davis, P., & Waggenspack, W. N. (2012, June), Implementing a Bridge Camp and Intro. Course: Lessons Learned from a Phase 1 STEP Grant Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21489

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