Asee peer logo

Measurement Of Success: An Overview Of The Impact Of Summer Research Opportunities For Community College Students

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Retention Strategies in Action Part II

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.861.1 - 15.861.12



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Sheryl Custer Texas A&M University, Kingsville

author page

Harriet Lamm Texas A&M University-Kingsville

author page

David Ramirez Texas A&M University

author page

Kuruvilla John University of North Texas

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Measurement of Success: An Overview of the Impact of Summer Research Opportunities for Community College Students

Sheryl Custer, Texas A&M University-Kingsville Harriet Lamm, Texas Engineering Experiment Station David Ramirez, Texas A&M University-Kingsville Kuruvilla John, University of North Texas


With the rise in the number of engineering positions in the workforce, and the decrease of graduates to fill those positions, institutions of higher education have to rethink their recruiting efforts to attract top notched students within the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. In 2005, the National Science Foundation awarded the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville a STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP) grant to engage students in STEM disciplines. A key focus of this grant is to provide summer research opportunities (May-mester) for community college students partnering with faculty and graduate students at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK). To date, 129 students have participated in this summer research program with 42 students having successfully transferred to TAMUK to pursue undergraduate degrees in STEM fields. More students are expected to transfer in the next couple of years as they graduate from community colleges. This paper highlights successes and challenges of this program. The May- mester research experience impacts favorably the students’ decision to become an engineering, a science, or a math major, increases students’ confidence and motivation to pursue higher academic degrees, and gives students opportunities for leadership roles in professional organizations. The TAMUK-STEP model for student success and persistence can be used as a base for similar initiatives at any higher education institution.


With the high demand for jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and not enough skilled men and women to fill these jobs especially in Texas4, it is easy to ascertain that there is a great need for universities and other institutions of higher education to take a more proactive stance in ensuring that there is an abundant number of graduates to meet these demands. Almost 13 million workers have found the need for bachelor degree-level knowledge in the areas of science and/or engineering although only about a third of the workers were actually employed in science and/or engineering occupations4. According to the 2008 Department of Labor report5, jobs in the STEM disciplines will potentially increase by approximately 51%; however, over 6 million of these jobs will remain unfilled because there are not enough graduates completing their degrees to fill these positions. In addition, there is an even larger shortage of minorities and women in these fields which raises even greater concerns for not only universities, but for employers as well10. Because of the need to recruit and retain more students into the STEM disciplines, many universities are taking a more proactive stance in the recruiting and retention of students. The Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering and

Custer, S., & Lamm, H., & Ramirez, D., & John, K. (2010, June), Measurement Of Success: An Overview Of The Impact Of Summer Research Opportunities For Community College Students Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16883

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015