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Peer Mentoring: Impact On Mentees And Comparison With Non Participants

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Mentoring First Year Students

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.945.1 - 15.945.16



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Paper Authors


Rose Marra University of Missouri

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ROSE M. MARRA is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Science and Learning
Technologies at the University of Missouri. She is Co-Director of the NSF-funded Assessing Women andMen in Engineering (AWE) and Assessing Women In Student Environments (AWISE) projects and Co-PI of the National Girls Collaborative Project.
Her research interests include gender equity issues, the epistemological development of college
students, and promoting meaningful learning in web-based environments.

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Whitney Edmister Virginia Tech

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WHITNEY A. EDMISTER is the Assistant Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She received her M.S. in Counselor Education, Student Affairs Administration from Radford University and Vocational-Technical Education and B.S. in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise both from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

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Bevlee Watford Virginia Tech

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DR. BEVELEE A. WATFORD, P.E. is the founding Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity, established in 1992, and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Watford received the ASEE 2003 Minorities in Engineering award due to her efforts to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rates of under-represented students in engineering.

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Barbara Bogue Pennsylvania State University

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BARBARA BOGUE is Associate Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics and Women
in Engineering. She is Co-Director of AWE and AWISE. Her research interests include recruitment and retention of women in engineering, assessment and career development.

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Chia-Lin Tsai University of Missouri


Fleur Gooden Virginia Tech

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FLEUR N. GOODEN is a graduate assistant in the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She received her B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, M.S. in Computer-based Management Information Systems from the University of the West Indies, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Planning, Governance, and Globalization from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Sate University.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Peer Mentoring: Impact on Mentees and Comparison with Non-Participants


Peer mentoring programs are a method often implemented to help address retention in engineering especially during the first and second years of study. This study examines the impact of a well-established engineering peer mentoring program in a large eastern U.S. university.

Peer mentoring programs for women, Hispanic and African American students had been in existence since the 1990’s. In fall 2005, the college increased the types of peer mentoring programs offered to include programs for male, transfer student, and general undergraduate engineering program participants. This increase in program offerings substantially increased overall mentor program participation and offered an opportunity for enhanced assessment and analysis.

For this study, we analyzed both pre and post survey data from mentor program participants to look at the impact of program participation on intentions to persist and their feelings of belonging in engineering, and differences in post survey responses by gender, ethnicity and mentor program variations. Finally we report the actual retention / graduation data for this cohort of participants and discuss these figures relative to the overall college of engineering.


Research has shown that the first year of an engineering program is critical to students’ success and specifically to their ability and decision to stay in an engineering degree program 1. Peer mentoring programs – where upper division students work with entering students – are a popular way to support the success of first-year engineering students. Mentoring programs are based on theory that proposes the benefits of reducing feelings of isolation and developing a strong sense of self via support and positive role models 2. Mentoring has been shown to benefit the protégé’s sense of confidence, self-esteem and in educational settings, improve retention 3,4.

The mentoring program studied was established in 1992 to support Hispanic, African American and female first-year engineering students at an eastern U.S. university. In 2005 the program was expanded to include all first-year students interested in participating 5. Trained and high performing upper-class engineering students are paired with groups of mentees and participate in welcoming receptions the first two evenings of the fall term. Throughout the fall term,

Marra, R., & Edmister, W., & Watford, B., & Bogue, B., & Tsai, C., & Gooden, F. (2010, June), Peer Mentoring: Impact On Mentees And Comparison With Non Participants Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15884

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