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Summer Bridge Design: Purposely Fostering Engineering Expertise and Success with the Redshirting in Engineering Program Scholars

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2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity


Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 14, 2019

Start Date

April 14, 2019

End Date

April 22, 2019

Conference Session

Track: Pre-college - Technical Session 4

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Pre-College

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Paper Authors


Tanya D. Ennis University of Colorado, Boulder

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TANYA D. ENNIS is the current Engineering GoldShirt Program Director at the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. She received her M.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her career in the telecommunications industry included positions in software and systems engineering and technical project management. Tanya taught mathematics at the Denver School of Science and Technology, the highest performing high school in Denver Public Schools. She is a PhD student in the School of Education at University of Colorado Boulder studying Learning Sciences and Human Development.

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Beth A. Myers University of Colorado, Boulder

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Beth A. Myers is the Director of Analytics, Assessment and Accreditation at the University of Colorado Boulder. She holds a BA in biochemistry, ME in engineering management and PhD in civil engineering. Her interests are in quantitative and qualitative research and data analysis as related to equity in education.

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Engineering summer bridge programs assist first-year engineering students in transitioning to college in an effort to promote student success. Annually, a large, public Western University hosted a two-week summer bridge program for students in the Redshirting in Engineering program designed to increase the knowledge of and interest in engineering, to develop engineering design skills, to improve academic awareness and preparation in mathematics, and to foster community among students in their cohort as well as within the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS). Redshirting in Engineering scholars initially were not directly admitted into the CEAS, but were considered highly motivated, identified as likely to succeed and were invited to participate in Redshirting in Engineering program as scholars. Thus, the Redshirting in Engineering summer bridge program is exclusively designed for the Redshirting in Engineering scholars, all of whom are admitted to the CEAS as open-option engineering majors. These scholars who agree to the program requirements were then enrolled as engineering students in the CEAS. The demographics of this cohort included 79% underrepresented minority (URM), 65% first-generation, 16% women, 74% Pell Eligible and 33% English language learners (ELL). In the summer of 2017, several elements of the Redshirting summer bridge program were redesigned to transition students to college and to transform their levels of expertise through multiple engineering skill-development workshops, spatial visualization and engineering design project integration, and mathematics and physics curriculum collaboration. Developing early partnerships with skilled professionals and faculty fostered a collaborative approach to implementing an integrated summer bridge program. In addition to classes, introducing these scholars to industry professionals and research opportunities during summer bridge supported an increase in their engineering expertise. Industry tours and research presentations were expanded to multiple companies and multiple faculty researchers, respectively. Smaller groups of scholars were matched more closely with their areas of interests during tours and presentations, at both companies and research labs. Second year Redshirting in Engineering scholars served as peer mentors to the first year scholars (protégés). An increased number of mentors improved the peer mentoring experience by reducing the number of mentees assigned to each peer mentor. To more broadly train these peer mentors, another new component to summer bridge was a campus-wide training for summer bridge peer mentors. The training was designed to stress the mission of the campus diversity leadership team across all campus summer bridge programs. The Redshirting peer mentors participated in campus-wide training and the Redshirting in Engineering summer bridge peer mentoring training; moreover, they served as resident advisors (RA’s) and teaching assistants (TA’s) for the summer bridge classes. The pre and post assessments and survey results of this summer bridge program are analyzed and outlined in this paper. Survey results from peer mentors are also provided. Sharing this summer bridge model will hopefully encourage other universities to take up diversifying summer bridge programs and increasing engineering expertise for incoming scholars.

Ennis, T. D., & Myers, B. A. (2019, April), Summer Bridge Design: Purposely Fostering Engineering Expertise and Success with the Redshirting in Engineering Program Scholars Paper presented at 2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity , Crystal City, Virginia.

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: © 2019 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