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NSF RIEF: Influence of Self-Efficacy and Social Support on Persistence and Achievement in Chemical Engineering Sophomores: Measuring the Impact of an Intervention

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Brad Cicciarelli Louisiana Tech University

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Brad Cicciarelli is a Distinguished Lecturer in the chemical engineering and mechanical engineering departments at Louisiana Tech University. He earned a B.S. from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. from M.I.T., both in chemical engineering. He teaches a variety of courses, including material and energy balances, thermodynamics, heat transfer, and numerical methods.

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Timothy Reeves Louisiana Tech University

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Timothy Reeves has been a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana Tech since 2013. His primary teaching area is Dynamics. He holds a PhD from Clemson University in Mechanical Engineering/Solid Mechanics.

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Catherine Belk Clemson University

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I am a doctoral student in the Engineering and Science Education department at Clemson University. I received my B.A. degree in Religion and my B.S. degree in Physics from High Point University in 2012. I received my M.S. degree in Medical Physics from East Carolina University in 2014. I have taught introductory physics lab courses at Clemson University. My primary research focuses embodied cognition, spatial abilities and student gestures.

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Marisa Orr Clemson University Orcid 16x16

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Marisa K. Orr is an Associate Professor in Engineering and Science Education with a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University. Her research interests include student persistence and pathways in engineering, gender equity, diversity, and academic policy. Dr. Orr is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award for her research entitled, ”Empowering Students to be Adaptive Decision-Makers.”

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Eric Sherer Louisiana Tech University

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As part of our study examining the factors that influence the academic performance and persistence of second-year chemical engineering students, we are assessing the impact of an intervention (a two-day voluntary workshop) on the specific factors of self-efficacy and social support. This workshop, called the “ChemE Camp”, is held just before the start of fall classes and includes team-building exercises, presentations from faculty about upcoming classes, a lab tour, presentations from upper-level students and alumni about their experiences in the curriculum and in industry, information about academic advising and the career fair, and some recreational games. Students who attend the camp can learn more about chemical engineering courses and the profession and also have the opportunity to meet peers and interact with faculty and upper-level students. It was hypothesized that the activities included in the camp would have a positive impact on students’ self-efficacy and social integration, factors which have been shown in other studies to significantly influence student experience and student success.

To assess the effect of the intervention, surveys were administered to students at the start of the camp. These surveys included published subscales used in the study of self-efficacy and social and academic integration. These same surveys were also administered to all second-year chemical engineering students at the beginning of the academic year (three days after the beginning of the camp) and the end of the academic year (approximately eight months later). Data collected from the previous two academic years indicate a statistically significant increase in the chemical engineering self-efficacy, coping self-efficacy, and social and academic integration ratings for students who attend the camp. These effects appear to largely be maintained throughout the sophomore year and are distinct from the results observed for non-attendees.

Cicciarelli, B., & Reeves, T., & Belk, C., & Orr, M., & Sherer, E. (2022, August), NSF RIEF: Influence of Self-Efficacy and Social Support on Persistence and Achievement in Chemical Engineering Sophomores: Measuring the Impact of an Intervention Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41898

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