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Improving Recruitment and Retention for Engineering Degree Students in a Rural Highly Underserved Community

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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

Developing Young MINDS in Engineering, Part II

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.748.1 - 25.748.15



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Paper Authors


Ivan Lopez Hurtado Northern New Mexico College

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Ivan Lopez Hurtado received his B.S. degree in industrial physics engineering from Tec de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, 1995, M.S. degree in automation from Tec de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, 1998, and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M., USA in 2008. He is currently the Department of Engineering, Chair at Northern New Mexico College.

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Jorge Crichigno Northern New Mexico College

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Jorge Crichigno received the B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from the Catholic University of Asuncion, Paraguay, in 2004, and the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in computer engineering from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, in 2008 and 2009, respectively. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Department at Northern New Mexico College, Espanola, N.M. His current research interests include wireless and optical networks, graph theory, mathematical optimization, and undergraduate STEM education. He has served as a reviewer and TPC member of journals and conferences such as IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing and IEEE Globecom 2010, and as a panelist for NSF STEM undergraduate education initiatives. He is a member of the IEEE Computer Society.

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Topics: Attracting young MINDS - outreach and recruitment of minorityengineering students (including K-12); Innovative retention and developmentprograms for undergraduate minority engineering students (including bridgeprograms); Improving Recruitment and Retention for Engineering Degree Students in a Rural Highly Underserved CommunityThis paper presents an ongoing STEP-NSF funded project and recent findings from thisproject and other initiatives. The project promotes the increase of engineeringenrollment from secondary schools through the baccalaureate level among students froma minority serving institution located in a rural area with poverty level below the levelestablished by the Federal Government. Hispanic and Native American studentsconstitute 73% and 11% of the college population, respectively.The paper presents the social and academic background of the students attending thisCollege as well as some statistics from the main factors that have contributed to lowhistorical retention. It describes later the strategies adopted for the last three years toimprove recruitment, retention and graduation rates for engineering degrees: (1) preparehigh school students for college-level conceptual analysis, problem solving and the valueof experimental replication through a STEM Summer Camp using problem-basedlearning; (2) supplement college STEM curricula with programs aimed at tutoring collegeand dual credit students who are at risk with engineering related courses; (3) curriculumand laboratory development to address the high demand of Information Technologymajors with industrial credentials through the Cisco® Academy; (4) adoption of theEngineering Math model developed by the Wright State University to solve thebottleneck caused by Calculus in the engineering curriculum; and (5) early exposure tothe world of engineering for mid school students through the Friday Academy, whichinclude hands-on projects and supplemental tutoring.This paper presents some preliminary findings and the evolution of the differentstrategies to improve student retention and recruitment. Some practices are verypromising and have started to be replicated in other STEM fields at the institution.Surveys and enrollment/retention data have been used to validate the findings. Studentgrades have been also used to compare the performance of NNMC students to studentsworldwide, using the available Cisco® Academy’s statistics.  

Lopez Hurtado, I., & Crichigno, J. (2012, June), Improving Recruitment and Retention for Engineering Degree Students in a Rural Highly Underserved Community Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21505

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