June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Community Engagement Division
The purpose of this study is to understand the experiences of undergraduate STEM majors participating as mentors in an afterschool STEM program. Drawing on social exchange theory (SET; Blau, 1968), we seek to understand why they decide to become mentors, why they persist, and how the mentoring relationship affects them.
Here we report early findings from an ongoing, three-year study of an afterschool community-based engineering intervention in which 4th and 5th grade underrepresented boys are paired with undergraduate STEM mentors who facilitate engineering design activities. Data were collected from five mentor interviews, transcribed, and analyzed using open coding (Bogdan & Biklen, 2007). The transcripts were read with no a priori codes to identify emergent themes and re-read using a set of a priori codes developed based on a review of the literature. Five additional mentors for a total of 10 will be interviewed at the end of the fall 2018 semester.
Based on early findings, we see that two of the five mentors were motivated by self-enhancement (e.g., to improve their resumes and gain volunteer hours). The remaining three mentors described more complex motivations, including liking to work with kids, altruism, a sense of empathy (i.e., seeing themselves in the students), and a desire to inspire future engineers. One mentor was drawn to the mentoring program specifically because of the opportunity he would have to serve as a content expert for younger students. The findings derived from this study have implications for recruitment and engagement of undergraduate STEM majors mentors as they serve in mentorship roles for community outreach programs.
Henderson, J. A., & Snodgrass Rangel, V., & Greer, R. P., & Manuel, M., & Jones, S. J., & Doan, V. (2019, June), STEM Engagement through Mentoring: Motivations of STEM Mentors Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33284
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