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Insights on Retention of Underrepresented Minority Electrical and Computer Engineering Transfer Students (Experience)

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering/Engineering Technolgy Transfer Issues: Two-year College to Four-year College

Tagged Division

Two-Year College

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Samuel Paul Merriweather Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Samuel Merriweather currently serves as the Texas A&M University System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TAMUS LSAMP) Associate Director through the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), a part of the Texas A&M University System. He obtained bachelor and master of science degrees in industrial engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and a PhD in industrial engineering at Texas A&M University. He may be contacted at for research collaborations or other information.

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Karen L. Butler-Purry Texas A&M University

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Karen Butler-Purry is the Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies as well as a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. Her research interests include computer and intelligent systems applications to power distribution systems and engineering education. She can be reached by e-mail at

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Shannon Walton Texas A&M University

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Shannon D. Walton, PhD, is the Director of Recruiting for the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies and the Director of Educational Achievement for the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. Holding dual positions, Dr. Walton’s responsibilities range from the recruitment and retention of a talented and diverse graduate student population to the management of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs, like the NSF-funded Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), aiming at increasing the number of underrepresented minority students successfully completing high quality degree programs in STEM disciplines.

A product of one of the very programs that she currently directs, LSAMP, Shannon holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering, a master’s degree in Safety Engineering, and a doctorate in Interdisciplinary Engineering, all from Texas A&M University.

With research interests rooted in engineering education, the learning styles of engineering students in particular, Shannon’s tenure at Texas A&M is and has been rooted in the mentoring of both undergraduate and graduate students. Currently an advisor for the Texas A&M National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Chapter and an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, a service organization, Shannon is no stranger to mission and vision of the academic excellence and cultural responsibility.

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Judy Kelley

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Judy Kelley currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Texas Office of Evaluation and Research. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Texas Tech University and a Master of Science degree in Statistics from SMU.

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From 2009-2013, Texas A&M University (TAMU) received funding for the Engineering Transfer Scholar (ETS) project under the National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (NSF S-STEM) program. The goal of ETS was to increase the quantity, quality, and diversity of the engineering workforce in the state, the United States (US), and globally through enabling academically talented and financially needy students to transfer from two-year community colleges or four-year universities to TAMU to obtain baccalaureate degrees in engineering or computer science. The goal was accomplished through scholarship funding and engagement of ETS students in a complementary focused learning community that included academic and social components to improve the students’ educational opportunities and retention. Two focal points of this project were (1) linking and leveraging the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program’s community college partnerships and (2) complementing the TAMUS LSAMP and TAMU College of Engineering (COE) recruitment and diversity efforts with ETS scholarships and matriculation activities. The targeted transfer institutions and community colleges had high student enrollments of African American and Hispanic American students, two historically underrepresented groups in STEM fields in the US. Twenty-two (22) of the thirty-five (35) ETS participants were underrepresented minority (URM) students. Almost half (17/35) of ETS participants transferred to TAMU as electrical and computer engineering (ECE) (13) or computer science (4) majors. Ultimately, 29 of the 35 (about 83%) ETS participants completed bachelor degrees after transferring to TAMU. This paper discusses activities, successes, and challenges during the project implementation and reflections on important findings, which demonstrated successful retention components for ECE students. Feedback from ETS participants and a comparison with another NSF S-STEM project is given.

Merriweather, S. P., & Butler-Purry, K. L., & Walton, S., & Kelley, J. (2018, June), Insights on Retention of Underrepresented Minority Electrical and Computer Engineering Transfer Students (Experience) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30671

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