New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Minorities in Engineering
Despite recent efforts, the fraction of underrepresented minorities employed in STEM fields mismatches the current demographics of the United States (U.S). In this context and over the past two years, an educational program between the Community College of ___ and ____ University with the overall objective to increase the interest of underrepresented minority students (UMS) in STEM has been implemented. The working hypothesis for the University component of this effort has been that learning about science and engineering is most effective if it is paired with the challenge of independent research in a collaborative “micro-environment”, such as the one in academic research laboratories. In this framework, six undergraduate UMS (three male, three female) were selected in the inaugural year, expanding to eight students (four male, four female) in the program’s second year. Each student selected a faculty advisor and research group aligned to their individual interests within the first week of the ten week program. From the outset, students were introduced to key library professionals and digital search tools which they employed to review literature relevant to their research foci, forming a basis for research proposals. By week four, students presented their research plans before a panel of faculty and student judges. To enrich individual research experiences, weekly seminars with guest lectures and discussions on modern drivers of STEM research were integrated in this summer research program. In order to complete the program, each student produced three final deliverables - an oral presentation, a technical poster and a final paper. In addition, students were exposed to an industrial R&D setting through a visit to a multinational corporation known for its innovation. A final survey and individualized assessments were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and progress of the individual students, respectively. Students demonstrated familiarity with basic research methods and universally reported increased interest in STEM education and careers, with several continuing to work in their labs beyond the program’s formal duration.
Christe, D., & Wisner, B. J., & Bhatt, J. J., & Kontsos, A. (2016, June), Raising Interest in STEM Education: A Research-based Community College-University Partnership for Improving Minority Participation Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26031
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