June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Minorities in Engineering
26.1325.1 - 26.1325.14
Reflections on Experiences of a Successful STEM Scholarship Program for Underrepresented GroupsThe Executive Summary of “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and EmployingAmerica for A Brighter Economic Future,” pointed out that “scientific and technologicalbuilding blocks critical to our economic leadership are eroding at a time when many othernations are gathering strength”. In order to prevent this decline, the Executive Summary offeredfour recommendations “that focus on the human, financial, and knowledge capital necessary forUS prosperity. The four recommendations focus on actions in K–12 education (10,000 Teachers,10 Million Minds), research (Sowing the Seeds), higher education (Best and Brightest), andeconomic policy (Incentives for Innovation).” In addition, the 2010 report of the President’sCouncil of Advisors on Science and Technology stated that “there is a large interest andachievement gap among some groups in STEM, and African Americans, Hispanics, NativeAmericans, and women are seriously underrepresented in many STEM fields.” Furthercomplicating this issue is the low level of interest of American students in the science, incomparison with other countries. There are also several concerns with the cost of highereducation which is a detriment to students wishing to acquire a STEM-related education.Recognizing these problems, some STEM faculty members at this University1 applied and wereawarded an NSF grant in order to ameliorate the effects of the problems discussed. This NSFgrant is tailored to increase and retain under-represented, female, first-generation collegestudents, and low-income STEM students due to demonstrated national and regional needs toaugment these populations in higher education STEM programs. In order to increase theawareness of STEM fields, a new initiative, the creation of STEM Clubs at High School andMiddle Schools, is being pursued. To attract the targeted students, scholarships were created andnew services and processes are being implemented, such as improved early progress report,mentoring by role model faculty members and working professionals in STEM fields and peermentoring through the new STEM scholarship club. Our activities are being accomplishedthrough a synergetic collaboration of expert staff from the Office of Multicultural Recruitment,Student Services, the Outreach Office, this University1, the Commission for Women at thisUniversity1 and seasoned role model faculty members. The project team has extensiveexperience working with female and minority undergraduate students. Rigorous evaluations werebuilt in the management plan to assess targeted enrollment goals, retention rates, and the impactof mentor/mentee activities, taking into account the unique characteristics of the targeted groups.This proposal was further strengthened by leveraging the resources of the Office of Developmentat this University1 to sustain this effort over time. This paper deals with reflections in how tosuccessfully implement a university STEM scholarship program to attain the simultaneous goalsof increasing STEM enrollment and increase diversity in the STEM fields. In particular, thenecessity of strong and broad-based (peers, faculty, industrial) mentoring. Initial results areencouraging with regards to STEM scholarship student retention.1 This University name will be given in the full paper.
Agili, S. S., & Morales, A., & Null, L. M., & Smith, J. E., & Vidalis, S. M. (2015, June), Reflections on Experiences of a Successful STEM Scholarship Program for Underrepresented Groups Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24662
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