Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Efforts to remain competitive internationally in engineering and technology require a significant increase in the number of STEM graduates in the United States. Recently there has also been an increasing awareness of the important role that community colleges play in educating STEM professionals, especially in broadening participation among students from underrepresented minorities (URMs). Since 2000, underrepresented minorities’ shares in engineering and physical science degrees have been flat despite a rapid increase in their representation of the overall US population. In fact, even though URMs currently constitute 30 percent of the US population, they account for only about 12.5 percent of baccalaureate degrees awarded in engineering. One common approach to broaden participation, increase engagement, and boost retention are undergraduate research experiences. Despite a number of growing studies that show the greatest gains are achieved in providing these experiences in the first two years of college, a recent extensive study of Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs shows that 91% of these research experiences are provided to junior and senior students. Developing successful research programs suited for community college students is challenging, for most of these institutions lack the faculty expertise and facilities to support on-going research programs. To address this large barrier to student success, a small Hispanic-serving community college in Northern California, in collaboration with a large local urban university, developed and implemented a ten-week Summer Group Research internship program suitable for sophomore students who have little to no previous research experience and have at least one more year of courses to complete at the community college before transfer. Held in the university’s research facilities, the program engages community college students in graduate-level engineering research projects under the supervision of a university professor and a graduate student mentor. This paper highlights the collaborative development of the program, along with results of interviews with students who participated in the 2016 and 2017 Summer Group Research programs. The interview protocol is presented along with data from four key areas of inquiry that were identified to examine the internships’ impact on engineering self-efficacy and commitment to an engineering career, academic goals and interest in research, career goals, and engagement with professionals from academia and industry. Best practices and lessons learned are shared, along with recommendations for colleges looking to replicate the program.
Langhoff, N., & Enriquez, A. G., & Schiorring, E. (2018, June), Student Perceptions of a Summer Research Internship Program for Underrepresented Community College Engineering Students Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31010
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