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PEEPS: Cultivating a Cohort of Supportive Engineering Students and Building a Support Team for Institutional Change

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session I

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/p.25865

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/25865

Download Count

187

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Paper Authors

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Katherine C. Chen California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Dr. Katherine C. Chen is Professor and Chair of the Materials Engineering department at the California Polytechnic (Cal Poly) State University, San Luis Obispo. Her degrees in Materials Science are from Michigan State University and MIT. She teaches a wide variety of different engineering courses and her research interests include diversity in STEM, lifelong learning, and informal education.

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Lizabeth T Schlemer California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Lizabeth is a professor at Cal Poly, SLO in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. She has been teaching for 22 years and has continued to develop innovative pedagogy such as project based, flipped classroom and competency grading. Through the SUSTAIN SLO learning initiative she and her colleagues have been active researching in transformation in higher education.

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Jane L. Lehr California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Jane Lehr is Chair of the Women's & Gender Studies Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She is also an Associate Professor in Ethnic Studies, Director of the Science, Technology & Society Minor Programs, and Faculty Director of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority and Underrepresented Student Participation in STEM Program at Cal Poly. She previously served as elected co-chair of the Science & Technology Taskforce of the National Women's Studies Association, and as a Postdoctoral Research Officer at the Centre for Informal Learning and Schools (CILS) at King's College, University of London. Her graduate training is in Science & Technology Studies and Women's Studies at Virginia Tech.

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Emily E Liptow California Polytechnic State University

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Emily Liptow is an AmeriCorps VISTA member at California Polytechnic State University for the 2015-16 school year. She is working with the College of Engineering and the Center for Excellence in STEM (CESAME) on a variety of projects to promote equity in STEM.

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Jaclyn Duerr California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Jaclyn Duerr works as a Coordinator for the Multicultural Engineering Program at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Teaching experience includes Engineering Student Success and Multicultural Counseling courses. Research interests encompass advocacy, recruitment, retention, and graduation for under-served students in STEM, with a special interest in first generation and transfer student experiences.

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Helene Finger P.E. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Helene Finger has been a faculty member in the Civil/Environmental Engineering Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo since 1997, with a break from 2007-2010 to pursue her PhD in Mechanical Engineering focusing on computational science and engineering and thermo-fluid sciences. At Cal Poly, she teaches courses in Water Resources and Water Quality. In 2000, she took on the additional roles of Director of the Women’s Engineering Program and advising the Cal Poly section of the Society of Women Engineers.

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Jeffrey Boncan Cabanez California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Jeffrey earned a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies, with concentrations in industrial engineering and film, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He spent the last two years working for an AmeriCorps national service program, CSU STEM VISTA. Here, he implemented programming for an NSF S-STEM grant for an academic learning community of underrepresented students in mechanical engineering and conducted outreach to K-5 students. Currently, he is one of two CSU STEM VISTA Leaders implementing hands-on learning experiences in STEM throughout the CSU system and supporting a cohort of 15 VISTAs across 11 CSU campuses.

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Abstract

A National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program) scholarship program entitled, “PEEPS” - Program for Engineering Excellence for Partner Schools is a holistic, institutional approach towards recruiting, retaining, and graduating engineering students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Partner Schools are those that have been identified to have large percentages of students who qualify for the National School Lunch Program. Data suggests that these students are not only more likely to have low socioeconomic status, but also be first generation college students and/or underrepresented minorities (URM). Adopting a cohort or “posse” model, the PEEPS cohorts form learning-communities to support one another and create a sense of belonging at our university.

The PEEPS program is designed to remove obstacles and to integrate several proven student success strategies in order to help PEEPS students develop and achieve their personal academic and professional goals. Partnerships with Admissions, Financial Aid, and the Multicultural Engineering Program have been developed expressly for this project. The PEEPS program components not only include financial support, but also include several interventions and social activities. These components are designed to help strengthen student identities as an engineer and to increase self-efficacy.

Data reveals that the PEEPS scholarship program has been an effective recruiting tool. By targeting the Partner Schools and First Generation engineering students, the scholarship program is aiding and supporting more diverse students with high financial need. Retention analysis is ongoing through periodic check-ins, interviews and focus groups. Many of the PEEPS components are also being developed to reach a greater number of students beyond the scholarship recipients, such as the Engineering Student Success course and cohort scheduling of gateway engineering courses.

Assessment by interviews and a focus group of the PEEPS has revealed that the cohort scheduling of courses together has helped the students form a community and has assisted with studying for courses. PEEPS also integrates periodic reflections that aid in student development, and provide ample academic and personal support. Some preliminary quantitative comparisons are made between the PEEPS and other students in the Engineering Student Success course, but the numbers of students and time elapsed are small.

Chen, K. C., & Schlemer, L. T., & Lehr, J. L., & Liptow, E. E., & Duerr, J., & Finger, H., & Cabanez, J. B. (2016, June), PEEPS: Cultivating a Cohort of Supportive Engineering Students and Building a Support Team for Institutional Change Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25865

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