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Peer Mentoring in an Interdisciplinary Computer Science Training Program: Mentor and Student Perspectives and Lessons Learned

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37571

Download Count

82

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Paper Authors

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Anagha Kulkarni San Francisco State University

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Anagha Kulkarni is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at San Francisco State University. Her research investigates problems at the intersection of information retrieval (IR), natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning (ML). Her work applies IR, NLP, and ML tools and techniques to multidisciplinary problems in public health, social justice, women's health, and biomedicine. She leads the following CS education and diversity programs, AI-STAARS, PINC (Promoting INclusivity in Computing), Gen-PINC, and gSTAR-PINC.

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Shasta Ihorn San Francisco State University

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Shasta Ihorn is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at San Francisco State University. She received her doctorate in School Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, completed her predoctoral internship in school psychology with the Louisiana School Psychology Internship Consortium at Louisiana State University’s Health Science Center, and completed her postdoctoral residency in clinical psychology at Kaiser Permanente. Dr. Ihorn’s primary research interests focus on issues of equity, diversity, and access in education and health care.

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Carol E. Tate SRI International

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Carol Tate is an Education Researcher at SRI International's Center for Education Research and Innovation. She leads the external evaluation for the Promoting Inclusivity in Computing (PINC) program at SFUSD.

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Jennifer Nelson San Francisco State University

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Nina Narayan Hosmane San Francisco State University

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Nicole Adelstein San Francisco State University

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Pleuni S. Pennings San Francisco State University

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Pleuni Pennings is an associate professor in Biology at San Francisco State University. She received her PhD from the University of Munich in Germany. Her interests are population genetics, drug resistance, computational biology and improving access to computer science skills.

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Torey D. Jacques San Franciso State University

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Torey D. Jacques is a mentorship coordinator in the College of Science and Engineering (CoSE) at San Francisco State University. He received his formal training and certification to implement research mentor training through the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN). He is currently training mentors to develop effective strategies in collective problem solving and connecting them with resources to help optimize their individual mentoring practices.

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Ilmi Yoon San Francisco State University

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Professor Ilmi Yoon, Professor of Computer Science at San Francisco State University (SFSU), is an expert in gamification and game development, particularly in interactive media, 3D over the Internet, and network information visualization. She has collaborated closely with ecologies (Pacific EcoInformatics Computational Rsearch Lab) since 2001 on developing web-based network visualizations for ecological researchers both nationally and internationally. She has been PI or co-PI on multiple NSF awards and leading PINC project (Promoting Inclusivity in Computing)

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Abstract

A strong Computer Science (CS) identity increases retention in the field, and promoting the establishment of such an identity in underrepresented (UR) students - including women and Black, Latinx, and Native American individuals - is a crucial component of any successful attempt to diversify the field. Exposure to relatable role models can contribute to the development of professional identity, and has been shown to increase student achievement and persistence in STEM. However, for most UR students in Computer Science courses, finding role models with whom they can identify amongst more senior students can be challenging, given the low enrollment and retention numbers for UR CS students. In addition, many UR students have few people in their personal networks who work in CS, making it difficult to identify professional role models, as well. With the goal of promoting the development of CS identity in UR students, a novel, NSF-funded CS program has incorporated a peer mentoring program into their education model. This peer mentoring program simultaneously provides academic support and creates relatable role models for students.

The proposed paper will outline the ways that mentors are used within the program and discuss the results from qualitative research efforts that offer insight into the impact of this mentoring, for both the mentors and for the students they support. These qualitative results describe the mutual benefits of mentorship and underscore the importance of interpersonal relationships and community in the formation of professional identity for UR students. The discussion section will outline the lessons learned during the last four years of the mentoring program’s implementation, detailing effective mentor training strategies, methods for nurturing positive mentor-mentee relationships, attributes of successful mentors, and the important role of program alumni in the mentoring model.

Kulkarni, A., & Ihorn, S., & Tate, C. E., & Nelson, J., & Hosmane, N. N., & Adelstein, N., & Pennings, P. S., & Jacques, T. D., & Yoon, I. (2021, July), Peer Mentoring in an Interdisciplinary Computer Science Training Program: Mentor and Student Perspectives and Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37571

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