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The Academy Of Courageous Minority Engineers: A Model For Supporting Minority Graduate Students In The Completion Of Science And Engineering Degrees

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Academic Boot Camp

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count

11

Page Numbers

12.1386.1 - 12.1386.11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2930

Download Count

13

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Paper Authors

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Eric Brittain Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Eric Brittain is a PhD candidate in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Dept. at MIT. He received his BS from Clark Atlanta Univ, and his MS from MIT EECS. His research lies in Brain and Computer Interaction.

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Reginald Bryant Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Reginald Bryant is a PhD candidate in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Dept. at MIT. He received his BS from Morgan State University, and his MS from MIT EECS. His research efforts are currently focused on micromachining integrated NanoElectroMechanical (NEM) High-Index-Contrast (HIC) thin film structures.

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Lincoln Chandler Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Lincoln Chandler is a PhD candidate affiliated with the MIT Operations Research Center. His current research addresses the characterization and evolution of differences in academic performance among ethnic groups, commonly referred to “achievement gaps.” He holds a BS in Computer and Information Sciences from Florida A&M University and a SM degree in Operations Research from MIT.

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Robbin Chapman Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Dr. Robbin Chapman received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department. Her research explores computational tools and practices for promoting critical reflection within design-based learning activities. Her theoretical framework, Cooperative Constructionism, establishes a design-based approach to critical reflection with applicable computational tools and teaching pedagogy. Her publications include chapters in Social Capital and Information Technology and the forthcoming book, Communities of Practice: Creating Learning Environments for Educators. Dr. Chapman has served as Assistant Program Director for NASA’s Space Life Sciences Training Program at Kennedy Space Center and was a member of the Life Sciences Support facility flight hardware team at Cape Canaveral.

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Shaundra Daily Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Shaundra Bryant Daily is a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory working in the Affective Computing Group. She holds a Bachelor (2001) and Master (2003) of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical-Florida State University College of Engineering. She also completed a Master of Science (2005) degree at the Media Laboratory where she designed, built, and evaluated interfaces to support affective development through digital storytelling enhanced with commonsense reasoning technology. Her main research interests include the design of computational tools to enable reflection on emotions, attitudes, beliefs, and values.

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Mark Hampton Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Mark Hampton is a PhD candidate in the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His research interests include parallel computer architectures and energy-efficient architectural techniques. He has BS degrees in computer and systems engineering as well as computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an SM degree in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT.

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Ishara Mills-Henry

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Ishara Mills is a postdoctoral fellow in the Biology Dept. at MIT. She recently received her PhD from MIT and her BS/MS degree from Clark Atlanta Univ. Her research applies the biology of molecular chaperonins to nanomedicine strategies in disease prevention.

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Aisha Walcott Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Aisha Walcott is a PhD candidate in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department at MIT. She received her BS from Clark Atlanta University, and her SM from the MIT EECS. Her research lies in persistent autonomy for mobile robots.

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

THE ACADEMY OF COURAGEOUS MINORITY ENGINEERS: A MODEL FOR SUPPORTING MINORITY GRADUATE STUDENTS IN THE COMPLETION OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING DEGREES

Abstract: A major obstacle for minority students completing graduate degrees in science and engineering is a lack of support system. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the Academy of Courageous Minority Engineers (ACME) – a group designed to retain and enhance the experience of minority graduate students by facilitating and supporting programming geared toward completion of graduate degrees in multiple disciplines including electrical engineering, computer science, media arts and sciences, biology, and urban studies. While support or accountability groups are not a new idea, ACME strives to make this process systematic and focused through a web-based system, ACME Online that allows members to post and track their personal goals and comment on the goals of other members. Weekly forums are held to discuss and provide constructive feedback on the content of and progress toward research goals as well as discussion topics related to graduate school success including time management, preparing for qualifying exams, and advisor-advisee relationships. In another component of ACME, monthly lunch series are held to provide a diverse and supportive environment for graduate students to present research ideas, problems, papers, or results, and receive feedback from their peers in a range of disciplines. This paper will describe the technological infrastructure, management, and responsibilities of the members of ACME as well as information directly related to student success.

Introduction

The Department of Education Statistics suggests that while African-American enrollment rates in higher education continue to increase, graduation rates are comparatively low4. The quality of experience during the graduate process needs to be investigated. The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago1 reports a 10% decrease in the number of black American doctorates in 2005. Black Ph.D. recipients had an average age of 36.7 (vs. 33.8 for all Americans), while taking an average of 12.7 years (vs. 10.4 years for white Americans). Furthermore, 16.2% of black American Ph.D. recipients planned postdoctoral study (vs. 22.7% of all white American Ph.D. recipients).

Programs are being established to enhance the quality of the graduate process for minority graduate students. The effects of small informal groups with underlying commonality have been documented to produce excellent results5. This is due in large part to common denominators of respect for one another’s opinions, genuine desire for members’ success, and anxiety free environments for perceived failures.

Through focus groups of minority graduate students, McAfee, et al. (2006) discovered that personal and political aspects were major determining factors that led to the success of a graduate student3. This comes in contrast to undergraduate success where academics are deemed to be the major determining factor that led to successful graduation. The ACME model of peer

Brittain, E., & Bryant, R., & Chandler, L., & Chapman, R., & Daily, S., & Hampton, M., & Mills-Henry, I., & Walcott, A. (2007, June), The Academy Of Courageous Minority Engineers: A Model For Supporting Minority Graduate Students In The Completion Of Science And Engineering Degrees Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2930

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