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Peer Mentoring of Undergraduate Women in Engineering as a Mechanism for Leadership Development

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Kristin E. Sherwood Stony Brook University

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Kristin E. Sherwood is a doctoral student in Science Education at the Stony Brook University. She is focusing her research on the representation of women in engineering and other STEM related fields.

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Angela M Kelly Stony Brook University Orcid 16x16

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Angela M. Kelly is an Associate Professor of Physics and the Associate Director of the Science Education Program at Stony Brook University, New York. She attended La Salle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she received her B.A. degree in chemistry, and completed her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in science education (2000 and 2006, respectively) and her Ed.M. degree in curriculum and teaching (2007) at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. She is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2016); the Provost’s Faculty Recognition Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Research from Lehman College, City University of New York (2010); and the Outstanding Teaching Award from Teachers College, Columbia University (2006). Her research has been rooted in a commitment to equity in precollege and university science and engineering.

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Monica Bugallo Stony Brook University Orcid 16x16

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Monica Bugallo is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Faculty Director of the Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) Honors program at Stony Brook University. She received her B.S., M.S, and Ph. D. degrees in computer science and engineering from University of A Coruna, Spain. She joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stony Brook University in 2002 where she is currently a Professor. Her research interests are in the field of statistical signal processing, with emphasis on the theory of Monte Carlo methods and its application to different disciplines including biomedicine, sensor networks, and finance. In addition, she has focused on STEM education and has initiated several successful programs with the purpose of engaging students at all academic stages in the excitement of engineering and research, with particular focus on underrepresented groups. She has authored and coauthored two book chapters and more than 150 journal papers and refereed conference articles.

Bugallo is a senior member of the IEEE, serves on several of its technical committees and is the current chair of the IEEE Signal Processing Society Education Committee. She has been part of the technical committee and has organized various professional conferences and workshops. She has received several prestigious research and education awards including the award for Best Paper in the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine 2007 as coauthor of a paper entitled "Particle Filtering," the IEEE Outstanding Young Engineer Award (2009), for development and application of computational methods for sequential signal processing, the IEEE Athanasios Papoulis Award (2011), for innovative educational outreach that has inspired high school students and college level women to study engineering, the Stony Brook University Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) Latino Faculty Recognition Award (2009), and the Chair of Excellence by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid-Banco de Santander (Spain) (2012).

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Peer mentoring has been shown to be an effective means of improving the retention of women in engineering, but few studies have explored the impact of participation on the development of the leadership abilities of undergraduate women. Transitioning to a leadership mentality as a peer mentor has the potential to foster self-efficacy in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and socially stable academic relationships that may be replicated in post-graduate study and/or the workplace. This one-year study explored the experiences of junior and senior female students in STEM majors (N=11) serving as mentors to first-year students in the Women in Science and Engineering Honors Program (WISE) at Stony Brook University, a large research university in the Northeast U.S. The participants had also experienced mentoring by upperclassmen during their first year at the university. The conceptual framework incorporated factors related to self-efficacy and growth, communal agency, and leadership development. Qualitative data were collected through surveys and interviews with juniors and seniors. Many women expressed how rewarded they felt by their experiences with the first-year students, and they recognized the impacts of their work on the academic lives of their mentees. They viewed their mentees as more proficient in time management, work-life balance, and establishing effective social support structures. The mentors reported feeling confident in their leadership abilities and recognized the importance of supporting women as underrepresented participants in their university-based STEM community. They felt a personal responsibility to share their insights as academically and socially integrated upperclassmen. Findings suggest that mentoring programs should leverage the skills and achievements of peer mentors while enhancing their leadership transitions through the development of the self-determination of their mentees.

Sherwood, K. E., & Kelly, A. M., & Bugallo, M. (2018, June), Peer Mentoring of Undergraduate Women in Engineering as a Mechanism for Leadership Development Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30864

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