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S-STEM: Creating Retention and Engagement for Academically Talented Engineers

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37694

Download Count

12

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Paper Authors

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Indira Chatterjee University of Nevada, Reno

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Indira Chatterjee received her M.S. in Physics from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio in 1977 and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah in 1981. Indira is Associate Dean of Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. As Associate Dean she oversees undergraduate and graduate education in the college including recruitment, retention, advising, and career placement. She also promotes and facilitates industry-college partnerships, She serves as chair of the College of Engineering curriculum committee and is a member of the university curriculum committee. Indira has been a faculty member at the University of Nevada, Reno since 1988. As Professor of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering she has been actively involved in funded research. She has been primary mentor to several graduate students who are well placed in industry and academics. Her research areas include: Engineering education, numerical and experimental bioelectromagnetics, RF/microwave/millimeter wave dosimetry, antenna design, and electrical properties of materials. Over the past 33 years she has brought in over $7 million in research funding from the National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Johns Hopkins University, National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and private industry. She is a senior member of the IEEE, and member of the ASEE, Bioelectromagnetics Society and Society of Women Engineers. She serves on the editorial board of the Bioelectromagnetics Society.

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Kelsey Scalaro University of Nevada, Reno

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Kelsey is a doctoral student in the School of Engineering Education at the University of Nevada, Reno. There she completed her Bachelor’s and is working on her Master of Science in mechanical engineering. Her research focuses are on undergraduate engineering identity and identity construct development with an emphasis on recognition.

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Ann-Marie Vollstedt University of Nevada, Reno

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Ann-Marie Vollstedt is a teaching assistant professor for the College of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Vollstedt completed her dissertation at the University of Nevada, Reno, which focused on exploring the use of statistical process control methods to assess course changes in order to increase student learning in engineering. Dr. Vollstedt teaches courses in engineering design as well as statics and runs the Engineering Freshmen Intensive Training Program. She is the recipient of the F. Donald Tibbitt's Distinguished Teaching Award, the Paul and Judy Bible Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Nevada Women's Fund Woman of Achievement Award

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Jeffrey C. LaCombe University of Nevada, Reno

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Julia M. Williams Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Julia M. Williams is Professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Her research areas include technical communication, assessment, accreditation, and the development of change management strategies for faculty and staff. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Engineering Education, International Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, and Technical Communication Quarterly, among others.

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Adam Kirn University of Nevada, Reno Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-6344-5072

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Adam Kirn is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education at University of Nevada, Reno. His research focuses on the interactions between engineering cultures, student motivation, and their learning experiences. His projects involve the study of student perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards becoming engineers, their problem solving processes, and cultural fit. His education includes a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a M.S. in Bioengineering and Ph.D. in Engineering and Science Education from Clemson University.

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Abstract

This paper describes progress to date on a five-year National Science Foundation S-STEM project entitled “Creating Retention and Engagement for Academically Talented Engineers” being conducted at a large western land-grant university. The project which is in its second year, has successfully recruited two cohorts of students (hereafter referred to as scholars) and has awarded scholarships to these thirty two academically talented engineering majors with financial need. The scholars identified as 22 male, 10 female, 18 white, 6 Hispanic, 3 multi-racial, 4 Asian, one Native American, and 10 first-generation. Program numbers mirror similar enrollment trends to the College with the following exceptions: higher female and students of color enrollment. A dedicated team of nine academic and administrative faculty and one graduate student form the management team and work cohesively towards the success of the cohorts. A combination of curricular and co-curricular activities has been put in place during year one of the program and important changes have been implemented during year two based on formative assessment. Curricular support includes tutoring, intrusive advising, regular progress reports from instructors, and, peer and faculty mentoring. Co-curricular support includes a variety of community building activities, a minimum of two mandatory theme seminars based on evidence-based best practices, two required “choice” (elective) activities including a variety of opportunities like job and internship related information sessions, participation in student clubs, engineer’s week, K-12 outreach, undergraduate research, and study abroad. As part of the project, a mixed methods engineering educational study is being carried out to research the changes in engineering interest, self-efficacy and identity of the scholars in the two cohorts. The first cohort has been 100 % retained in the program. Emerging results that highlight the importance of several components of our program in improving scholars’ experiences, include: 1) peer mentors who are effective in building valued relationships with their mentees , 2) engineering related cohort building activities starting early and occurring in formal and informal environments, 3) a one-week bootcamp Engineering – Freshman Intensive Training E-FIT) prior to the start of the first semester where scholars were placed in “packs” together with a peer mentor. Additionally, peer mentors who served as E-FIT mentors were very effective in building valued relationships with their mentees. Data is also being collected on the effect of the pandemic and the fact that scholars have been deprived of face-to-face interactions with other members of their cohorts, their peer and faculty mentors, and have had to adjust to mainly online learning modes. Based on emerging trends in the data, changes are being implemented during year 2 of the program to maintain as much peer and faculty mentor interaction as possible with the cohorts. This is being addressed through a mix of in-person and virtual cohort building activities within the guidelines of the university for maintaining social distance. These combined findings and experiences of our scholars add to the literature surrounding best practices for student support models while demonstrating the transferability of previous results across contexts.

Chatterjee, I., & Scalaro, K., & Vollstedt, A., & LaCombe, J. C., & Williams, J. M., & Kirn, A. (2021, July), S-STEM: Creating Retention and Engagement for Academically Talented Engineers Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37694

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