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The Power of Peer Mentoring of Undergraduate Women in Engineering: Fostering Persistence through Academic and Social Integration

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Jennifer A Gatz Stony Brook University Orcid 16x16

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Public STEM education teacher of AP Biology and AP Research for Patchogue-Medford School District. Ph.D. in Science Education from Stonybrook University, 2017. Post-doctoral associate at Stony Brook University's Institute for STEM education evaluating persistence, motivation, social and academic integration of women in science and engineering at the undergraduate level.

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Angela M Kelly Stony Brook University Orcid 16x16

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Angela M. Kelly is an Associate Professor of Physics and the Associate Director of the Science Education Program at Stony Brook University, New York. She attended La Salle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she received her B.A. degree in chemistry, and completed her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in science education (2000 and 2006, respectively) and her Ed.M. degree in curriculum and teaching (2007) at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. She is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2016); the Provost’s Faculty Recognition Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Research from Lehman College, City University of New York (2010); and the Outstanding Teaching Award from Teachers College, Columbia University (2006). Her research has been rooted in a commitment to equity in precollege and university science and engineering.

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Monica Bugallo Stony Brook University Orcid 16x16

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Monica Bugallo is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Faculty Director of the Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) Honors program at Stony Brook University. She received her B.S., M.S, and Ph. D. degrees in computer science and engineering from University of A Coruna, Spain. She joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stony Brook University in 2002 where she is currently a Professor. Her research interests are in the field of statistical signal processing, with emphasis on the theory of Monte Carlo methods and its application to different disciplines including biomedicine, sensor networks, and finance. In addition, she has focused on STEM education and has initiated several successful programs with the purpose of engaging students at all academic stages in the excitement of engineering and research, with particular focus on underrepresented groups. She has authored and coauthored two book chapters and more than 150 journal papers and refereed conference articles.

Bugallo is a senior member of the IEEE, serves on several of its technical committees and is the current chair of the IEEE Signal Processing Society Education Committee. She has been part of the technical committee and has organized various professional conferences and workshops. She has received several prestigious research and education awards including the award for Best Paper in the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine 2007 as coauthor of a paper entitled "Particle Filtering," the IEEE Outstanding Young Engineer Award (2009), for development and application of computational methods for sequential signal processing, the IEEE Athanasios Papoulis Award (2011), for innovative educational outreach that has inspired high school students and college level women to study engineering, the Stony Brook University Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) Latino Faculty Recognition Award (2009), and the Chair of Excellence by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid-Banco de Santander (Spain) (2012).

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The academic and social integration of women in engineering majors does not occur in a vacuum. With the goal of expansion and improvement of educational and professional STEM opportunities for women, this convergent parallel mixed methods study was conducted to explore the impacts of a formal peer mentoring program at Stony Brook University, a large research university in the Northeast U.S. Social cognitive constructs including self-efficacy, persistence, and engagement were measured by a survey adapted from Assessing Women and Men in Engineering for first year female students (N = 51) in the Women in Science and Engineering Program (WISE). Most respondents (78%) reported that the initial decision to enter a science or engineering related field was because they were "good at math or science," while 70% "wanted to be able to get a well-paying job after graduation," and 54% "liked to solve problems." Most (72%) reported that the number one goal for entering the program was to "help me do well in my major," with 58% reporting "meeting other students my field" as a secondary goal. Many respondents (43%) reported that the organization with which they most strongly identified was the WISE program, with 98% expressing confidence in completing their degree. There were significant moderate to strong correlations between participation in the program and friendship development within majors, friendships within majors and anticipated success in a career related to the major, and academic and social integration between friends studying within the major and not giving up participation in outside interests, as well as shared personal interests. Qualitative findings showed that academic and social support were the two most common benefits from peer mentoring experienced by participants, indicating that the academic and social engagement provided by peer mentoring aspects of the program may be positive predictors of retention for first-year women in science and engineering.

Gatz, J. A., & Kelly, A. M., & Bugallo, M. (2018, June), The Power of Peer Mentoring of Undergraduate Women in Engineering: Fostering Persistence through Academic and Social Integration Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31119

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