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Improving STEM Education for Lower-division College Students at HSI by Utilizing Relevant Sociocultural and Academic Experiences: First-year Results from ASSURE-US Project

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34795

Download Count

12

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Paper Authors

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Jidong Huang California State University, Fullerton

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Dr. Jidong Huang is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at California State University, Fullerton. His research had been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and multiple industrial sponsors. Currently, his research interests are focused on innovative approaches for STEM teaching and learning; robotics; the design of high-precision, integrated navigation system with high integrity; and their indoor/outdoor applications. He is a member of the Institute of Navigation (ION); and a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

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Sudarshan T. Kurwadkar California State University, Fullerton Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0003-2970-5138

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Dr. Sudarshan Kurwadkar is an Associate Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). He is a licensed Professional Engineer and a Board-Certified Environmental Engineer. During his last 10 years of teaching experience, he has received numerous awards, scholarships and fellowships. His commitment to student success is widely acknowledged with students winning many distinguished awards at various research symposiums and conferences. At CSUF, Dr. Kurwadkar is an ASCE Faculty Advisor, and recently elected Vice President of Student Affairs for ASCE Los Angeles Section. He has pursued and collaborated on many externally funded grants including NSF-CAREER, NSF-MRI, NSF-REU, NSF-IUSE, CA-DPR, IUSSTF, and US-STJF. He has secured more than $2.0 Million in externally funded projects. Besides teaching and research, he enjoys outdoor activities such as swimming, kayaking, biking, fishing, and long-distance traveling. He has driven cross-country from Los Angeles, CA to Kittery, ME, visiting major tourist attractions all along.

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Doina Bein California State University, Fullerton Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-5072-1979

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Dr. Bein has an extensive publication record: 13 book chapters, 19 journal articles, and 69 conference papers. Four of her conference papers have received the best paper awards. She was awarded (as PI or co-PI) several research and teaching grants from AFOSR and NSF. She is the general vice-chair of an annual conference, International Conference on Information Technology: New Generations (ITNG), held in April in Las Vegas, NV. She is the faculty advisor of the ACM Women in Computing (ACM-W) local chapter, that organizes several outreach activities to inspire girl scouts in STEM education, and won several campus awards, Presidential Award from the Girl Scouts of America, and the 2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

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Yu Bai California State University, Fullerton

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Dr. Yu Bai is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Engineering Program in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the California State University, Fullerton. His research has been supported by Intel and other federal agencies. His research interests include machine learning, social media analysis, neuromorphic computing, FPGA design, nano-scale computing system with novel silicon and post-silicon devices, and low power digital and mixed-signal CMOS circuit design.

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Salvador Mayoral California State University, Fullerton

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Dr. Salvador Mayoral received his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of California, Irvine in 2013. As a graduate student, Dr. Mayoral worked on the shielding of jet noise by a hybrid wing body aircraft. In 2014, Dr. Mayoral joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at California State University, Fullerton where he currently serves as an Assistant Professor. As the PI of the Wind Tunnel Laboratory, his research interests span the areas of aeroacoustics, ground effect aerodynamics, and has recently expanded his interests into the hydrodynamics of marine life. Moreover, Dr. Mayoral is a CoPI of the NSF funded “Advancing Student Success by Utilizing Relevant Social-cultural and Academic Experiences for Undergraduate Engineering, Computer Science Students” (ASSURE-US) Project.

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Abstract

Despite national efforts in increasing representation of minority students in STEM disciplines, disparities prevail. Hispanics account for 17.4% of the U.S. population, and nearly 20% of the youth population (21 years and below) in the U.S. is Hispanic, yet they account for just 7% of the STEM workforce. To tackle these challenges, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has granted a 5-year project – ASSURE-US, that seeks to improve undergraduate education in Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) at California State University, Fullerton. The project seeks to advance student success during the first two years of college for ECS students. Towards that goal, the project incorporates a very diverse set of approaches, such as socio-cultural and academic interventions. Multiple strategies including developing early intervention strategies in gateway STEM courses, creating a nurturing faculty-student interaction and collaborative learning environment, providing relevant, contextual-based learning experiences, integrating project-based learning with engineering design in lower-division courses, exposing lower-division students to research to sustain student interests, and helping students develop career-readiness skills. The project also seeks to develop an understanding of the personal, social, cognitive, and contextual factors contributing to student persistence in STEM learning that can be used by STEM faculty to improve their pedagogical and student-interaction approaches. This paper summarizes the major approaches the ASSURE-US project plans to implement to reduce the achievement gap and motivate ECS students to remain in the program. Preliminary findings from the first-year implementation of the project including pre- and post- data were collected and analyzed from about one hundred freshmen and sophomore ECS students regarding their academic experience in lower-division classes and their feedback for various social support events held by the ASSURE-US project during the academic year 2018-19. The preliminary results obtained during the first year of ASSURE-US project suggests that among the different ASSURE-US activities implemented in the first year, both the informal faculty-student interactions and summer research experiences helped students commit more to their major during their lower-division years. The pre-post surveys also show improvements in terms of awareness among ASSURE-US students for obtaining academic support services, understanding career options and pathways, and obtaining personal counseling services.

Huang, J., & Kurwadkar, S. T., & Bein, D., & Bai, Y., & Mayoral, S. (2020, June), Improving STEM Education for Lower-division College Students at HSI by Utilizing Relevant Sociocultural and Academic Experiences: First-year Results from ASSURE-US Project Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . https://peer.asee.org/34795

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