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Implementing an Industrial Mentoring Program to Enhance Student Motivation and Retention

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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

FPD X: Addressing Retention in the First Year

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.735.1 - 25.735.21



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Paper Authors


Matthew G. Green LeTourneau University

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Matthew G. Green is an Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at LeTourneau University, Longview. His objective is to practice and promote engineering as a serving profession. Focus areas include remote power generation, design methods for frontier environments, enhanced engineering learning, and assistive devices for persons with disabilities. Contact:

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Alan D. Niemi LeTourneau University

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Alan D. Niemi is an Associate Professor and Chair of engineering technology at LeTourneau University. He received his B.S. in electrical engineering technology from Lake Superior State University and his M.S.E.E. from Illinois Institute of Technology. He has taught courses in electrical engineering and technology for 25 years. In addition to teaching, Niemi has spent seven years in industry designing digital and microcontroller systems.

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Melanie Roudkovski LeTourneau University

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Melanie Roudkovski, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of psychology at LeTourneau University. She has taught in the Department of Psychology since 2005 and began a new role in the School of Graduate & Professional Studies in 2011. Currently, she serves as the Director of Programs in Counseling & Psychology and teaches online as well as traditional courses. She has been a primary contributor in the development of several new programs, including three new graduate and two undergraduate programs in counseling and psychology. Her research is primarily in the area of healthy family functioning, and she consults regularly on dissertation and other research projects involving correlational analyses. She received her undergraduate degree from Lousiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. Graduate degrees (M.A.M.F.T., Th.M., and Ph.D.) were received from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS). Email:

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Implementing an Industrial Mentoring Program to Enhance Student Motivation and RetentionAbstractA new industrial mentor program at our university connects practicing engineers with “FreshmanInterest Groups (FIGs)” of 7-10 students. Far too many talented young minds walk away fromengineering thinking, “I don’t want to work calculus problems in isolation the rest of my life, soI’m changing my major!” Face-time with practicing engineers, we believe, helps dispel manymisconceptions plaguing the future of our profession. In a casual setting first semester studentscan get answers to questions such as, “What do you actually do? Should I pay attention inCalculus I? Do you like your job?” This program is part of a larger retention and career-boostinginitiative including overhauling the first-year course experience and hiring student peer mentors,funded in part through NSF-STEP.Industrial mentors commit to 9 hours (including drive time) for the year including: attendingmentor orientation, providing student feedback, attending two informal student meetings (withthe 7-10 member FIGs), and completing a feedback survey. Several optional activities forinterested mentors include giving class presentations, electronic mentoring, and reviewing first-year student team design presentations. In this pilot year 9 mentors are connected with FIGgroups of approximately 6 students each.This paper will detail the logistics and challenges of starting up this mentoring program, andpresent qualitative and quantitative assessment results, with the intention of contributing ourexperiences and materials to the dialogue on retention initiatives. Details will be included on:identifying and recruiting ideal mentors, empowering student peer advisors to “own” therelationship (and the accompanying logistics), jumpstarting conversations with freshmen andmentors, and program results. Preliminary qualitative indicators are very positive, and the paperwill include a mix of survey and focus group data from first-year students, student peer advisors,faculty mentors, and industrial mentors.

Green, M. G., & Niemi, A. D., & Roudkovski, M. (2012, June), Implementing an Industrial Mentoring Program to Enhance Student Motivation and Retention Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21492

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