Asee peer logo

Start: A Formal Mentoring Program For Minority Engineering Freshmen

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Foster Excellence

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1298.1 - 12.1298.11

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Tony Mitchell North Carolina State University


Angelitha Daniel North Carolina State University

visit author page

Angelitha L. Daniel graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Materials Science and Engineering. After graduation, she was hired as the Coordinator of Minority Recruitment for PECAP, Pitt’s Engineering Career Access Program (formerly known as the IMPACT Program) from July 1998 until June 2003. Ms. Daniel currently works as the Assistant Director of Minority Engineering Programs at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She is responsible for the planning and implementation of programs that assist the college in recruiting, retaining, and graduating underrepresented students.

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

START: A Formal Mentoring Program for Minority Engineering Freshmen Abstract

Our College of Engineering attracts some of the most talented students from across the United States. Each year, an entering freshman class of approximately 1250 new engineering students includes approximately 18% female and 20% minority students. Approximately 13% of our undergraduate student population is an African-American, Native-American, or Hispanic- American. Annually, a new freshman class of engineering students includes about 140 under- represented minority students.

Nationally, undergraduate engineering programs at traditionally white institutions which are successful at sustained recruitment, enrollment and graduation of under-represented students are constantly seeking innovative strategies to help meet these objectives. One such program administered by our Office of Minority Engineering Programs is Student Advancement and Retention Teams, or START. START is an early intervention and peer-mentoring program whose purpose is to help create a receptive, familial environment that helps ease the transition of new under-represented freshmen into our College of Engineering.

In 2003, we received a small grant from a local foundation that allowed us to run a two-year pilot that expanded START through the mentees’ sophomore year. This paper reports on the procedures, challenges and successes associated with START. After describing START mentors selection and mentees assignment procedures, the paper reports on activities and outcomes associated with the traditional first-year only program. We will then describe our motivation for extending START through the sophomore year, and offer details on unexpected challenges associated with this expansion. The paper concludes with lessons learned from this two-year expansion pilot, and with explanations of why we have returned START to its original mode of assigning mentors to entering under-represented student freshmen only.

Introduction to the Diversity Challenge

As a land grant university as designated by the United States federal government, our university has a mandate to provide practical education to the citizens of this state, while maintaining nationally ranked and recognized research programs. Through its responsibility as a land grant university our College of Engineering seeks to recruit the highest achievers while maintaining a diverse and inclusive campus community. Our enrollment rates of under-represented students (African-Americans, Hispanic, Native-Americans), have shown steady progress over the past twenty years. Our Minority Engineering Programs Office was established in 1982 to address the needs of a growing number of students attending the university, with particular emphasis on under-represented engineering student success. As success was proved with our engineering model, it was replicated across campus in other schools and colleges. Research has shown that first year student success is highly dependent on support services and programs, particularly for minority students1, 2.

On our campus, student diversity is enhanced by increasing the numbers of African-American, Native-American and Hispanic students (together referred to as minority or under-represented

Mitchell, T., & Daniel, A. (2007, June), Start: A Formal Mentoring Program For Minority Engineering Freshmen Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015