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Non-Curricular Activities Help African-American Students and Alumni Develop Engineer of 2020 Traits: A Quantitative Look

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Focus on African-American and Hispanic Engineering Students’ Professional and Academic Development

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.937.1 - 24.937.16



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Paper Authors


Denise Rutledge Simmons P.E. Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16

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Denise R. Simmons, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in civil engineering and a graduate certificate in engineering education – all from Clemson University. Until 2012, she was the director of the Savannah River Environmental Sciences Field Station. Dr. Simmons has nearly 14 years of engineering and project management experience working with public utility companies, a project-management consulting company, and a software company. She is a registered professional engineer, project management professional, and LEED accredited professional. Her research interests are in investigating students' development of leadership skills and other professional competencies, and in student involvement in co-curricular activities. Dr. Simmons is a NSF CAREER award winner for her research entitled “Investigating Co-Curricular Participation of Students Underrepresented in Engineering.”

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Glenda D. Young Collins Virginia Tech

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Glenda Young is a Ph.D. student in the department of engineering education at Virginia Tech. She received a master's of industrial and systems engineering from Auburn University and a bachelor's of science in industrial engineering from Mississippi State University. Glenda is a Gates Millennium Scholar and her growing research interest include co-curricular involvement, student outcomes, workplace readiness, and diversity.

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Stephanie G. Adams Virginia Tech

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Dr. Stephanie G. Adams is the department head and professor of engineering education at Virginia Tech. She has held faculty/administrative positions at Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, North Carolina State University, Texas Tech University, and the University of Notre Dame. She earned her B.S. in mechanical engineering with honors from North Carolina A&T State University, master's of engineering in systems engineering from the University of Virginia, and Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering from Texas A&M University. Her research interests include team effectiveness, faculty and graduate student development, international collaborations, diversity in STEM, and quality control and management. She was awarded the CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and is a Fellow of ASEE.

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Julie P. Martin Clemson University

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Non-­‐Curricular  Activities  Help  African  American  Students  and  Alumni  Develop  Engineer  of   2020  Traits:  A  Quantitative  Look         This  research  lays  a  foundation  for  understanding  the  unique  experiences  of  African  American  engineering  student  and  alumni  participants  in  non-­‐curricular  activities.  Three  non-­‐curricular  activities  were  examined  for  the  scope  of  this  study:  National  Society  of  Black  Engineers  (NSBE),  Black  Greek  Organizations  (BGOs),  and  Minority  Engineering  Programs  (MEPs).  This  study  demonstrates  the  value  of  these  three  activities  by  quantifying  participants’  perceptions  on  how  involvement  in  these  organizations  aids  the  development  of  Engineer  of  2020  traits  (e.g.  analytical,  leadership,  and  lifelong  learning  skills).  Statistical  analysis  of  data  from  over  250  student  and  alumni  participants  from  across  the  US  reveal  that  participants  perceive  each  organization  to  make  a  statistically  significant  contribution  to  the  development  of  at  least  one  Engineer  of  2020  trait.     Results  of  this  study  provide  leaders  and  advisors  of  these  programs  and  organizations  with  empirical  data  that  can  be  used  to  advocate  for  funding  and  institutional  support.    Future  work  will  include  a  detailed  qualitative  analysis  aimed  at  gaining  in-­‐depth  knowledge  of  the  specific  contributions  of  each  organization  to  Engineer  of  2020  traits.    These  quantitative  and  qualitative  data  will  form  the  basis  for  further  evidence-­‐based  programming  and  student  retention  strategies.  Additionally,  this  work  can  be  used  to  help  engineering  students  gain  self-­‐awareness  of  essential  professional  competencies  and  become  actively  involved  in  their  own  professional  development  and  life-­‐long  learning.      

Simmons, D. R., & Young Collins, G. D., & Adams, S. G., & Martin, J. P. (2014, June), Non-Curricular Activities Help African-American Students and Alumni Develop Engineer of 2020 Traits: A Quantitative Look Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22870

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