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Influences of S-STEM Funding: Final Outcomes of Four Year Scientific Leadership Scholars Program Including Improvements to Department Retention Practices

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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

Innovative Methods to Teach Engineering to URMs

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.870.1 - 22.870.12



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Paper Authors

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Elizabeth A. Eschenbach Humboldt State University


Mary E. Virnoche Humboldt State University

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Mary Virnoche, Associate Professor and Chair in Sociology, teaches and does research on race, class, gender and inequalities. Much of her recent work focuses more specifically on higher education and STEM persistence.

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Tyler J. Evans Humboldt State University

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Tyler J. Evans is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California.

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This paper addresses the following MIND topic: Benefits of participating in federally-fundedscholarship/fellowship programs that target underrepresented groups. Influences of S-STEM Funding: Final Outcomes of Four Year S-STEM Including Improvements to Department Retention PracticesThe NSF sponsored S-STEM program at YYY University provides scholarships to a diversecohort of students in Computing Science, XXX Engineering or Mathematics. The programtargeted financially eligible Native American and first generation students. The S-STEM grouppersisting into year three remained more diverse than earlier corresponding major cohorts: 22(59%) were either women and/or underrepresented minority (URM) students in STEM. In the2007-08 academic year, 36 Cohort 1 students entered the program. Of the Cohort 1 freshmen, 23(66%) persisted into their second year and 12 (33%) persisted into their third year as S-STEMmajors. White and Asian Cohort 1 students were more likely to persist than STEM URMstudents (47%, n= 8 compared to 21%, n=4). In 2008-09, 15 additional S-STEM students wereadded. Of these students, 12 (80%) persisted into their third year as an S-STEM major. While allwhite students (6) in Cohort 2 persisted, 67% (6) of the underrepresented students persisted. All4 women in Cohort 2 persisted. There was no significant difference in the persistence based ongender or first generation status. These earlier results have already been presented.This paper will report the final retention rates for the fourth year of the program and will reporthow the S-STEM funding has influenced educational practices in the XXX Engineeringdepartment. This S-STEM funding has dovetailed well into a new university accreditationprocess for increasing retention of diverse students in all programs. As part of the universityaccreditation process, the XXX department has developed a plan to increase retention of diversestudents. Part of the process is identifying courses where underrepresented students havesignificantly higher fail rates. This process has just started a college wide conversation ofgateway courses. Another change is the implementation of a peer mentoring program for firstyear students. The peer mentoring program was started due to the S-STEM project outcomesthat indicated the importance of peer mentoring. Lastly, three XXX Engineering facultyattended Ray Landis’ course on First Year Engineering courses and are imbedding parts of thatcurriculum in two courses XXX engineering students take the first year. Assessment of thesenew practices in the XXX Engineering department is not yet complete. However, the finalassessment of the S-STEM project will be presented in the paper.

Eschenbach, E. A., & Virnoche, M. E., & Evans, T. J. (2011, June), Influences of S-STEM Funding: Final Outcomes of Four Year Scientific Leadership Scholars Program Including Improvements to Department Retention Practices Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18158

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