June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Minorities in Engineering
15.1049.1 - 15.1049.31
S-STEM ENG^2 Scholars for Success Engineering Engagement Abstract
The National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored Louisiana State University S-STEM scholarship project in the College of Engineering (CoE) provides monetary, academic and community support to academically talented and financially needy engineering students while targeting women and ethnic minorities. The ultimate project objectives are to provide support to the recipient scholars so they can complete a degree in engineering/construction management (E/CM) and increase the percentage of women and minority E/CM students.
The project encompasses three major components: recruitment, retention and placement. Recruitment consisted of communications with high school counselors, direct mailings to candidates, and collaboration with high school math and science teachers and college faculty. While the recruitment and awards were focused on financial need and under-represented groups, the program was open to anyone with a demonstrated financial need. Retention efforts leveraged components implemented as part of the existing NSF STEP Project within the college. The suite of engineering STEP retention activities/programs includes peer mentoring, summer engineering enhancement camp, academic tutoring, faculty development and a freshmen introduction to engineering course (ENGR 1050). New retention activities developed specifically for the S- STEM scholars program include a seminar series held in the fall and a spring seminar series, ENGR 2050, and the development and implementation of a summer jobs program. Additionally, the CoE Diversity staff conducted monthly, individual meeting with the scholars to establish a relationship with the student and identify problem areas early.
The S-STEM scholarship project in the CoE at Louisiana State University (LSU) was funded in August 2007 and has entered the second year of scholarship implementation (August 2009). Initially, financial support was provided to 20 incoming freshmen, and four students with junior standing for the fall 2008 cohort. Two freshmen were added in spring 2009 to replace those who left the program that semester. The fall 2009 cohort consisted of eight incoming freshmen and five students with upper level standing. The scholars program demographics support the targeted under-represented students.
Retention of students in engineering is a primary goal of the project, and of all 22 students who were part of the S-STEM 2008 freshmen cohort, only four changed majors, three in a STEM discipline and one in mass communication. One student who continued in engineering transferred to a smaller university at the end of the fall 2008 semester. This yields a first year engineering retention rate of 82%, as compared to the 11 year historical CoE first year retention rate of 73%. Six freshmen students have not been able to maintain the required GPA of 2.75, although all have remained in E/CM at LSU for the fall 2009 semester.
The S-STEM program has primarily been assessed using student academic performance and a program elements survey completed by students at the end of the spring 2009 semester. The mean cumulative GPA was 2.912 for the S-STEM 2008 freshman cohort, and it compares well with the 2007-2008 academic year GPA of 2.798 for all freshman engineering majors. The upperclassman S-STEM scholars performed well academically, and they had a cumulative GPA
Jones, S., & Rusch, K., & Waggenspack, W., & Seals, R., & Henderson, V. (2010, June), S Stem: Eng^2 Scholars For Success Engineering Engagement Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16143
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