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Retaining Minority Students in Engineering: Undergraduate Research in Partnership with NASA

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Developing Young MINDS in Engineering, Part II

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1127.1 - 25.1127.5



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Paper Authors


Singli Garcia-Otero Virginia State University

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Singli Garcia-Otero received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Missouri, Columbia. She has three years industrial experiences as an engineer and has been teaching at different universities for more than 20 years. Currently, she is a professor in the Computer Engineering program at the Virginia State University.

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Eshsan O. Sheybani Virginia State University

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Ehsan O. Sheybani has a Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. in E.E. from USF, FSU, and UF. Currently, Sheybani is Associate Professor at VSU. Research interests include communications and signal processing. Funded and published numerous times.

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Recruit and Retain Minority Students in Engineering with an Undergraduate Research Partnered with NASAAbstractRecruiting and retaining young women and underrepresented minorities in science, technology,engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are two important factors to increase graduation rates andto meet the demand for diversified qualified STEM graduates. This demand has increaseddramatically in recent years, especially with the retirement of baby boomers. Therefore, thenation is facing a serious challenge in educating sufficient numbers of women andunderrepresented minorities in the STEM fields to meet the demands of the scientificcommunity.There have been many studies on low retention rates among women and underrepresentedminorities in STEM disciplines, and different conclusions have been drawn. At Virginia StateUniversity, the most important factors are the students’ interest and motivation. The studentsneed to believe that a STEM major is worth the effort, that they have the ability to complete theirdegree, and that the degree is very useful for future employment.In order to excite the students’ interest and motivation, VSU (Virginia State University) andLouisburg College (LC), partnered with NASA to create a summer internship at Goddard FlightCenter where eight undergraduates worked with NASA scientists on advanced electricalaeronautic projects. This paper documents the impact that this exciting partnership is having onthe students.

Garcia-Otero, S., & Sheybani, E. O. (2012, June), Retaining Minority Students in Engineering: Undergraduate Research in Partnership with NASA Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21884

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