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Leading Educational and Academic Directions to Enhance Retention in STEM

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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

NSF Grantees: S-STEM 2

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

9

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34895

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34895

Download Count

163

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Paper Authors

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Ronald B. Bucinell Union College

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Dr. Bucinell is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Union College. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a former fellow of the Kern Family Foundation, a four time NASA Summer Fellow, and a past awardee of the IBM Faculty Award.
He served as Chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from September 2005 until June 2008, and as Chair of the Union College Faculty from September 2012 to September 2015. Since joining Union College in September of 1993, he has taught courses and laboratories in engineering mechanics, design, and entrepreneurship. His other responsibilities include undergraduate academic advising, senior design project supervision, undergraduate research supervision, and graduate research supervision. Dr. Bucinell has advised the SAE Baja, SAE Formula, and projects related to the ASME Human Powered Vehicle project. Dr. Bucinell has directed the International Virtual Design Studio project that ran in collaboration with the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey; Altim University in Ankara, Turkey; and ESIGELEC in Rouen, France. He also founded a chapter of Engineers Without Boarders at Union College and has traveled to Boru Village in Ethiopia to develop clean water supplies for the village. Dr. Bucinell supports the development efforts of many local companies in the areas of advanced materials. Central to these efforts are his Composites Manufacturing and Experimental Mechanics Laboratories at Union College. Prior to joining Union College, he spent 10 years in industry and continues to support the development of technology in local businesses.

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Rebecca Cortez Union College

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Dr. Rebecca Cortez is a materials scientist in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Union College. Current research activities include the morphological and electrical characterization of nanoscale materials and thin films. Interests also include additive manufacturing of metals. Previous research activities involved the fabrication and characterization of radio frequency microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices; low-cycle and fretting fatigue testing of metal alloys; and thermal plasma arc processing for heavy metal immobilization.

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Holli M. Frey Union College

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Holli Frey is a professor and department chair of Geology at Union College. Her fields of expertise are volcanology and igneous petrology, with an emphasis on understanding magma storage conditions and evolution. She conducts field-based research in Dominica and Oregon and uses a variety of analytical tools, including bulk and mineral chemistry and zircon geochronology. Holli has been an active member of the Keck Geology Consortium, which promotes undergraduate research in geology and aims to recruit underrepresented students into STEM fields.

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Joanne D. Kehlbeck Union College

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Joanne Kehlbeck received her BS in Chemistry from Duquesne University in 1992. She continued her interest in physical organic chemistry in her doctoral studies with Stuart W. Staley at Carnegie Mellon University receiving her PhD in 1999. Her multidisciplinary doctoral work combined organic synthesis, ab initio molecular orbital calculations and NMR studies as tools to understand fundamental issues in charge transfer. In 1999 she moved to Yale University in New Haven, CT to complete postdoctoral studies under Alanna Schepartz, the Milton Harris '29 Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale. While there, Kehlbeck studied the chemical biology of protein–protein and protein–nucleic acid interactions and the design of very small, yet well-folded proteins that inhibit or promote protein-protein interactions with exceptional levels of specificity. In 2002 she took the position at Union College in Schenectady, NY. She teaches organic chemistry, culinary chemistry and medicinal chemistry courses. Her research interests span a broad range of topics in chemical biology and organic chemistry, including design and synthesis of enzyme inhibitors, natural product fractionation and structure determination, synthesis of organic ligands for materials science applications and the study of evidence based practices in undergraduate education and research that supports inclusivity access, retention and student success in STEM fields.

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Michael E. Hagerman

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David A. Cotter Union College

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David A. Cotter is a sociologist with interests in gender inequality and rural issues. As part of the NSF-funded (S-STEM) grant (#1742407). “SUCCESS-LEADERS: Leading Educational and Academic Directions to Enhance Retention in STEM” he has been studying the intersections between gender, race, class, and place in STEM access and success using both national panel data and data on cohorts of Union College students.

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Abstract

The SUCCESS-LEADERS (Leading Educational and Academic Directions to Enhance Retention in STEM) project aims to develop, refine and implement practices that will advance understanding of the factors affecting retention and career pathways of low-income, at-risk populations. The production of academically talented, energetic STEM students with diverse backgrounds trained as leaders capable of propagating transformative mentoring skills will positively impact this nation’s workforce. We aim to produce innovative technological leaders who thrive in a diverse multidisciplinary community. Our institution has a longstanding history of success with NSF STEM education initiatives and has used program assessment to build upon these successes in establishing lasting institutional enterprises based on funded models. The small and supportive nature of a liberal arts college provides significant strength in encouraging at risk students to persist in STEM disciplines through strong mentoring in both curricular and research arenas. As a small liberal arts college offering engineering we are particularly suited to facilitate the development of future leaders of a diverse STEM workforce.

This project further broadens our inclusive recruiting strategy by building relationships with small, rural under-resourced public high schools in order to attract and retain talented students to STEM fields. Students originating from rural areas face unique challenges persisting in STEM fields. We aim to address these challenges by providing dedicated mentors and enabling the development of a tight knit, supportive cohort of scholars across disciplines. We focus on professional development activities that build the skills necessary to participate in mentoring activities, both as a mentee and a mentor to others. Connecting scholars with potential mentors, 1) in their peer group; 2) in their discipline as academic advisors; 3) in courses as professors; 4) in research as project advisors; and 5) in the workforce as professional contacts, enables personal growth and professional advancement of both the mentor and mentee. To encourage the students to be proactive in making professional contacts, we stress attendance at seminars within their STEM disciplines. Students are offered an opportunity to participate in the IMPACT program that aims to connect students to STEM professionals in industry. Placing students in the role of mentor, as STEM ambassadors to their community high schools, fosters student leadership and builds capacity for the initiative going forward. The program includes placing STEM students together into general education courses like the “first-year preceptorial” and the “sophomore research seminar” themed with sufficient breadth in order to ask students both to embrace how their discipline can contribute to the emerging concerns within the theme, but also to encourage discourse among the students in different STEM disciplines.

In addition to internal assessment conducted as part of the analysis for our current grant, data from a longitudinal retrospective analysis will be presented on the academic and professional pathways of prior NSF-DUE funded students. This will include prior cohorts totaling approximately 90 students who have matriculated over the last decade to compare their academic pathways during their undergraduate years and beyond against similar STEM-oriented students of the same class years in order to critically examine our efforts and identify the most impactful practices in achieving the project goals.

Bucinell, R. B., & Cortez, R., & Frey, H. M., & Kehlbeck, J. D., & Hagerman, M. E., & Cotter, D. A. (2020, June), Leading Educational and Academic Directions to Enhance Retention in STEM Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34895

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