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NSF S-STEM EPIC Scholarship Program

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

NSF Grantees: S-STEM 1

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Sara A. Atwood Elizabethtown College

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Dr. Sara A. Atwood is an Associate Professor and Chair of Engineering at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. She holds a BA and MS in Engineering Sciences from Dartmouth College, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Atwood’s research interests are in creativity, engineering design, first-generation and low-income students, internship experiences, and criterion-based course structures.

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Kurt M. DeGoede Elizabethtown College

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Professor of Engineering and Physics, Elizabethtown College. His research interests in biomechanics include injury studies and developing clinical instruments for rehabilitation. Dr. DeGoede teaches upper-level undergraduate mechanical engineering and design courses and the first-year engineering foundations courses. He has also developed a collaborative study abroad program in West Africa built around social enterprise initiatives.

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Results will be presented from a 5-year NSF S-STEM scholarship program for academically talented women in engineering with financial need. -------------- College’s Engineering Practices with Impact Cohort (EPIC) Scholarship program was launched with an NSF S-STEM grant awarded in 2013. The program developed a pathway for academically talented and financially needy women interested in engineering to successfully enter the STEM workforce. The program targeted three critical stages: 1) recruiting talented women into the ABET-accredited engineering program and forming a cohort of scholars,  2) leveraging and expanding existing high impact practices (including an established matriculation program, living-learning community, collaborative learning model, focused mentoring, and undergraduate research) to support women scholars during their college experience, and 3) mentoring scholars as they transitioned to the STEM workforce or graduate programs. The goals of the scholarship program were to increase the number and percent of women entering engineering at our institution and to increase the graduation/employment rate of EPIC scholars beyond that of current engineering students and beyond that of national levels for women engineers.  

At the end of this grant, we have roughly doubled the number of women (22.7%) and underrepresented minority students (14%) in the engineering program. This is comparable to the 2016 national average of 20.9% women and 20.6% underrepresented minority bachelors graduates in engineering. We have also remained at a consistently high level of enrollment and retention of low-income (18.6% Pell-eligible) and first-generation college students (61%). 83% of the scholars have been retained in the engineering program or have graduated with an engineering degree, which is above the institutional and national average. The remaining scholars transferred to another major but have been retained at the institution. All of the scholars participated in a living-learning community, tutoring, focused mentoring, and a women engineers club. Almost all participated in a pre-matriculation program. 17% of the scholars additionally had an undergraduate research experience and 28% studied abroad. 100% of the scholars had engineering workforce jobs or graduate school acceptances at the time of graduation. This program successfully increased the population of underrepresented minority, low-income, and first-generation women entering the engineering workforce. 

Atwood, S. A., & DeGoede, K. M. (2020, June), NSF S-STEM EPIC Scholarship Program Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35003

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