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Promoting Student Success in Engineering and Science through Reseach and Internship Programs

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Minority Student Success

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1001.1 - 23.1001.10



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Paper Authors


Rafic Bachnak Texas A&M International University

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Dr. Bachnak is professor and chair of the Department of Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU). He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Ohio University in 1983, 1984, and 1989, respectively. Prior to joining TAMIU in 2007, Dr. Bachnak was on the faculty of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Northwestern State University, and Franklin University. His experience includes several fellowships with NASA and the US Navy Laboratories and employment with Koch Industries. Dr. Bachnak is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas, a senior member of IEEE and ISA, and a member of ASEE. During the 2009-2010 academic year, he was a Fulbright Scholar at Notre Dame University, Lebanon.

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Rohitha Goonatilake


Sofía Carolina Maldonado Texas A&M International University

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Sofía Carolina Maldonado is a graduate student at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU), currently completing a M.S. in Information Systems. She obtained her B.S. degree in Systems Engineering from the same University in Fall 2011. Sofía was a Distinguished Student Scholar and Student respondent at the Fall 2011 Commencement Ceremony. Throughout her TAMIU education, she has been a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Vice-President and Treasurer of the Society of Engineering at TAMIU. In addition, Sofía was a Research Assistant for the project “Topography of an Object: Detection and Display (Software and Hardware)” and was team leader of the Engineering Senior Project Design entitled “New Classroom Propulsion Demonstrator.”

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Dan Mott Texas A&M International University

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Dr. Mott is the Chair of Biology & Chemistry and Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Texas A&M International University. He is currently PI and/or Co-Pi in $7.8 million in grants supporting Hispanic students in STEM.

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1 Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education has been given muchattention in recent years. The area of greatest concern, however, is that retention and successrates in American colleges and universities are low. While the number of degrees awarded in theSTEM fields increased modestly from 2003 to 2007, only 15.6 percent of bachelor’s degreeswere awarded in these fields.Standardized-test scores, study habits, and whether students are living on- or off-campus are notthe only factors that affect retention rates. Surprisingly, poor service and treatment, the feelingthat college education is just not worth it, and the indifference students perceive from the collegeor university are among the major factors that affect retention and success. As a result, severalretention and success efforts, especially in the engineering and science areas, have beendeveloped across the country.A variety of issues affect student success in engineering and science. The better these issues areunderstood, the better mentors are prepared to identify effective solutions. Students are morelikely to succeed if they have clear goals, are active learners, and are active participants incampus activities. It is a concern of faculty and administrators to improve the graduation ratewithout lowering standards. Meeting objectives and outcomes is achieved by monitoringprogress and making adjustments.This paper attempts to document the key elements for promoting minority and underrepresentedstudents’ success in engineering and science, with a focus on active learning through a researchand internship program that provides financial support and mentoring.

Bachnak, R., & Goonatilake, R., & Maldonado, S. C., & Mott, D. (2013, June), Promoting Student Success in Engineering and Science through Reseach and Internship Programs Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22386

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