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Summer Immersion Program for First-Year Engineering Students as a Strategy to Increase Retention: First-Year Results

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Eduardo G. Perez Inter American University of Puerto Rico

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Mechanical Engineering Associate prof. and chair
Co-Director Project MSEIP

PhD. in Mechanical Engineering West Virginia University
Ms. in Mechanical Engineering University of Puerto Rico
Bs. Engineering of Energy - Universidad del Santa - Peru

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Omar Meza Castillo Inter American University of Puerto Rico

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Omar Meza was born in Chimbote-Ancash, Perú, in 1969. He received the B.E. degree in Energy Engineering from the “Universidad del Santa”, Chimbote, Perú, in 1994, and the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico- Mayagüez Campus, Puerto Rico and West Virginia University, USA in 2003 and 2010, respectively.
During 2003-2004, he joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico, as an instructor, in 2010-2011 became a substitute assistant professor at Turabo University – Puerto Rico. Since August 2011, he has been with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Bayamon Campus, where he was an Assistant Professor, became an Associate Professor in 2014. His current research interests include ice particles in contrails, conduction heat transfer, renewable energy, ramp pump, Savonius wind turbine, Stirling engine and engineering education. Dr. Meza is a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Actually, he is in charge of MSEIP and MSP projects, since June and October 2014 respectively, both with the support of the Department of Education.

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Summer Immersion Program for First-Year Engineering Students as a Strategy to Increase Retention: First Year Results

This work in progress describes a ten days summer immersion program at Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Bayamon Campus for newly enrolled engineering students as a strategy to increase the retention rate of first year students. By the end of December 2015 proper statistical data will be included to determine real impact of the program in retention rate of participating students. A big concern in engineering programs and engineering colleges is the high attrition rate. In the last three years, the School of Engineering of Inter American University of Puerto Rico – Bayamon Campus has presented an important attrition rate. The transition of high school to college as a difficult and new experience in the life of first-year students has been suggested as one reason for the low retention rate (average retention rate is 68% for our engineering school). An intensive 10 days, externally-funded summer immersion program for incoming first year engineering majors (computer, electrical, industrial and mechanical) was designed to provide an acclimation to college life, provide an introduction to engineering careers and promote self-confidence. The program during the summer (July 2015) have impacted 71 students (36 mechanical, 20 computer, 8 industrial and 7 electrical) with a wide range of College Board Scores, reflecting a variety of college preparedness levels. Students were divided into five groups. Groups were chosen to be multidisciplinary with three students or more per discipline. Female students were placed in groups were other female students were present. In addition to the professor instructor, an engineering student mentor was assigned to each group. Attendance was over 90% during the program. Data on student satisfaction was collected in every workshop and activity obtaining an average value of 4.88 in scale of 5. The summer program consisted on nine hands workshops with projects were students had the opportunity to relate the theory and practice while working in an inviting environment. A tour for the facilities and study methods were also programmed. All workshops were designed to work in groups of three or four students. The final day students had a “competition” with their 3D printed cars they designed in a 3D printing workshop. All groups were winners and have to pick up their prizes by October as a strategy to make personal contact with students and have close follow up and bring them advice if necessary. This work is being founded by grant #.P120A140021 under MSEIP program from de Department of Education.

Perez, E. G., & Castillo, O. M. (2016, June), Summer Immersion Program for First-Year Engineering Students as a Strategy to Increase Retention: First-Year Results Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25966

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