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Recruitment Efficacy of a Summer Undergraduate Research Program: Impact on Graduate School Intent and Selection

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Graduate Recruitment & Professional Development

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1317.1 - 26.1317.12



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Paper Authors


Gurlovleen Rathore Texas A&M University

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Gurlovleen Rathore is pursuing her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Engineering at Texas A&M University. Her research interests include problem-based learning, design creativity and innovation, design education and future faculty professional development. She received her B.S. in Engineering Physics from the University of Michigan and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

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Matthew Pariyothorn Texas A&M University

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Matthew Pariyothorn currently serves as a Graduate Program Specialist for the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. In his position he encourages undergraduates to pursue graduate education and promotes engineering graduate degree programs at various local, state, and national recruiting events. He also manages summer research experiences for high-achieving undergraduates (USRG and NSF-REU) and high school math and science teachers (NSF-RET). Pariyothorn also manages graduate academic affairs and advising in the college. In addition to recruitment, academic affairs, and program coordination, Pariyothorn has a passion for student affairs. He serves as university adviser to the Philippine Student Association (PhilSA), Beta Tau Omega (BTO), an Asian-interest fraternity, and the Society for Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE). Pariyothorn completed a B.S. in industrial/organizational psychology (business minor), M.S. in management (human resource management emphasis) from the Mays Business School, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in human resource development, all from Texas A&M University. His research interests include workplace mentoring relationships, career development, and graduate school recruitment.

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Summer Undergraduate Research Programs: An Effective Strategy to Recruit US Graduate Students?According to “The Future of Graduate Education Is the Future of America: A Call to Action,”issued by the Council of Graduate Schools, a graduate workforce is crucial to maintaining the UScompetitiveness in the global market. US graduate student enrollment, however, has been indecline in the recent years, with greater influx of international graduate students. In order for USto maintain global advantage, calls have been made to increase domestic graduate studentenrollment. As a response, University X has implemented summer undergraduate researchprograms as a recruitment strategy to improve US graduate student enrollment. Whileparticipation in undergraduate summer research programs is known to enhance student learningoutcomes, relatively little is known about the effectiveness of summer undergraduate researchprograms as a way to improve graduate student enrollment, especially in engineering.The present research study was conducted using survey research design, to understand the impactof a summer undergraduate research program on students’ pursuit of graduate studies inengineering at University X. The research questions that were explored in this study were: (1) How does participation in summer undergraduate research programs influence students’ pursuit of graduate studies in engineering? (2) What are the initial factors that influence student decisions on where (if anywhere) to pursue graduate studies after participation in summer undergraduate research programs?An 18-item survey that consisted of categorical, Likert-type, and open-ended items was designedto collect data for the study. The survey was distributed to summer undergraduate researchprogram participants at the end of each summer for three program cycles and received a responserate of 74%.This paper will summarize survey results to illustrate the effectiveness of summer undergraduateresearch programs as a strategy in recruiting graduate students to University X. Results willinclude participant demographics (e.g. gender, residency status, ethnicity, educationalclassification, home institution, previous research experience), change in student intentions topursue graduate studies, reasons for change in plans (if any), and actual application, admittance,and matriculation rates to University X. Mitigating factors such as programmatic (e.g.satisfaction with their summer experience) and non-programmatic variables (e.g. familiarity withcampus) that may have influenced students’ decisions to apply to University X for graduateschool are also described to explain the effectiveness of the program for recruiting students.Results are expected to have implications for if and how universities can use summerundergraduate research programs in engineering as an effective recruitment strategy to respondto national calls about reversing the trends of decreasing US graduate student enrollment andmeeting US needs for a competitive workforce.Keywords: undergraduate summer research program, graduate school, recruitment

Rathore, G., & Pariyothorn, M. (2015, June), Recruitment Efficacy of a Summer Undergraduate Research Program: Impact on Graduate School Intent and Selection Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24654

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