June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Engineering Physics & Physics
14.875.1 - 14.875.7
Mentoring of Freshmen STEM Engineering Students by Senior Engineering Students
For a month in the summer of 2008, six incoming freshmen STEM students (mentees) were mentored by two senior undergraduate engineering students (mentors) in a robotics based project. The project focused on the “ground-up” realization of a swarm robot prototype. It differed from most entry-level robotics projects in scope. Instead of using preassembled and pretested robotics components, the students were asked, as a team, to design their own mechanical and electrical systems under the supervision of the senior engineering student mentors. The mentees appeared to be divided as to how they felt about the program. Two students expressed that the program was difficult and were uninterested in the team environment. The other four were much more eager to be engaged in an experience like this, and worked hard to help it succeed. Since the summer program, they have been engaged with the mentors, their fellow classmates, and have had an increased confidence in their abilities to handle an engineering program. These students are currently continuing this project as undergraduate research assistants under the mentorship of the senior engineering students. The mentors expressed that they also benefitted from this program. They gained valuable experience in project and group management. They also increased their in-depth understanding of the mechanical and electrical systems through providing technical support to the incoming freshman students.
Mentoring programs at various academic levels, k-12 through graduate studies, have been implemented to help students to overcome barriers to their academic and social success. Mentoring not only has been shown to have numerous positive impacts on students but also on mentors and schools. As it has been stated in a report, student mentoring, and the references therein, mentoring is a sustained one-to-one relationship between a caring adult and a child who needs support to achieve academic, career, social, or personal goals. Unlike natural mentoring, planned mentoring, requires matching between mentees, students receiving mentorship, and mentors through a structured 1 program with specific objectives and goals in mind.
In order to address low undergraduate retention rates, a common problem faced by engineering programs, some universities have established various mentoring programs for incoming freshman students. The common goal of these programs is to help students to cope with the difficulties encountered while transitioning from high school to university settings; and the stresses associated 2-8 with pursuing the rigorous engineering program.
Jassemnejad, B., & Handy, T. A., & Murphy, S. L., & Lemley, E. C. (2009, June), Mentoring Incoming Freshmnn Stem Engineering Students By Senior Engineering Students Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/4860
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