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The Rising Doctoral Institute: Preparing Minority Students for the Transition into the Engineering Ph.D.

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37888

Download Count

30

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Paper Authors

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Mayra S. Artiles Ph.D. Arizona State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7604-0410

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Mayra S. Artiles is an assistant professor in engineering at the Polytechnic School of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. Her research expertise includes engineering doctoral education structure, experiences of underrepresented minorities in doctoral engineering programs, and doctoral student motivation and persistence. Her research methods specialty is qualitative data analysis. Prior to transitioning into engineering education, Artiles worked at Ford Motor Company as an Electrified Vehicle Thermal Engineer. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech.

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Juan M. Cruz Rowan University

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Juan M. Cruz is an assistant professor of the Experiential Engineering Education Department at Rowan University. He has a B.S. in Electronic Engineering and a Masters in Education from Universidad Javeriana in Colombia, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. His research interests include using system thinking to understand how instructional change occurs, faculty development process, and faculty and students' motivation.

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Sarah Anne Blackowski Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Sarah is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She has a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and, during that time, spent a summer at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering for an REU in engineering education. Sarah's research interests include: motivation, student and faculty metacognition, and engineering faculty self-regulated learning.

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Holly M. Matusovich Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Dr. Holly M. Matusovich is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Education. She is current the Assistant Department Head for Undergraduate Programs and the former Assistant Department Head for Graduate Programs in Virginia Tech’s Department of Engineering Education. Dr. Matusovich is recognized for her research and practice related to graduate student mentoring. She won the Hokie Supervisor Spotlight Award in 2014, was nominated for a Graduate Advising Award in 2015, and won the 2018 Graduate Student Mentor Award for the College of Engineering. Dr. Matusovich has graduated 10 doctoral students since starting her research program in Spring 2009. Dr. Matusovich co-hosts the Dissertation Institute, a one-week workshop each summer funded by NSF, to help underrepresented students develop the skills and writing habits to complete doctorate degrees in engineering. Across all of her research avenues, Dr. Matusovich has been a PI/Co-PI on 12 funded research projects including the NSF CAREER Award with her share of funding be ingnearly $2.3 million. She has co-authored 2 book chapters, 21 journal publications and more than 70 conference papers. She has won several Virginia Tech awards including a Dean’s Award for Outstanding New Faculty, an Outstanding Teacher Award and a Faculty Fellow Award. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University, an M.S. in Materials Science from the University of Connecticut and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University.

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Stephanie G. Adams University of Texas at Dallas

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Dr. Stephanie G. Adams is the Department Head and Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She previously served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the School of Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University and was a faculty member and administrator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Her research interests include: Teamwork, International Collaborations, Faculty Development, Quality Control/Management and Broadening Participation. She is an honor graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, where she earned her BS in Mechanical Engineering, in 1988. In 1991 she was awarded the Master of Engineering degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia. She received her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1998. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the National Science Foundation's most prestigious, Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education, holds membership in a number of organizations and presently serves on the National Advisory Board of the National Society of Black Engineers.

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Gwen Lee-Thomas Quality Measures LLC Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9063-2770

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Dr. Gwen Lee-Thomas is the CEO of Quality Measures, LLC, a Virginia-based consulting firm specializing in program and project evaluation, accreditation preparation, and capacity building. With over 22 years of experience in project evaluation and implementation of educational activities for over $100M in federal and state funded projects, Gwen consistently works collaboratively with her clients to maximize evaluation outcomes.

As an external evaluator, Gwen has conducted over 70 evaluations in various areas with an emphasis in STEM-H related curriculum experiences at various colleges and universities across the U.S. Gwen’s work with NSF, USDOE, DOE, DOD, HRSA, and DOJ helps in providing the evaluative needs and expectations of federally funded grants with regard to accountability and compliance. In addition, she has served as a panel reviewer for NSF proposals for S-STEM and other EHR programs, GAANN, SIP, and EOC with the USDOE, and is currently an AQIP Reviewer and Peer Reviewer for the NCA Higher Learning Commission.

As an administrator, Gwen has served Director of Assessment for 6 years and Executive Assistant to the President for one year at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She has also served as Assistant to the President and Provost for Special Projects at a Old Dominion University. Her experience as a Commissioner on the Indiana Commission for Higher Education has allowed her to embrace a broader perspective of the nuances of higher education and business & industry. In addition, Gwen has served as the board chair for the Indiana Minority Health Coalition—a grassroots legislated non-profit organization that promoted advocacy and education across the state with 19 local coalitions. As a full-time tenure track assistant professor and an adjunct faculty, Gwen has helped Master and PhD students understand and navigate the subtleties of organizational culture to negotiate their professional success.

Gwen received her bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1984, her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 1996, and a PhD in Education Administration in 1999 from Indiana State University.

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Abstract

Studies on graduate education have shown that underrepresented minorities finish PhDs in engineering at lesser rates and longer timeframes than their majority counterparts. While multiple interventions have been designed for students considering their decision to apply for graduate school, few focus on the transition into those doctoral programs. Graduate student development frameworks argue that it is during this initial transition into doctoral education that graduate students suffer the largest dissonance with their environment. Students typically enter the Ph.D. with misconceptions about what pursuing a doctoral degree entails; hence, they have to correct them quickly to continue and advance towards their degree. When students fail to correct these misconceptions, they are more likely to struggle in the program, more likely to make decisions harmful towards degree progress, and ultimately, they are less likely to finish their degree. We have found these findings present in the experiences of underrepresented students in engineering. To prepare minoritized doctoral students for this transition to the Ph.D., we developed and researched the Rising Doctoral Institute (RDI). The RDI is a four-day summer workshop for incoming doctoral students who identify as underrepresented in engineering and intend to begin graduate school in the Fall semester. The RDI stems from an on-going one-week workshop, The Dissertation Institute (DI), which focuses on helping advanced minority Ph.D. students overcome the final stages of the Ph.D. by providing writing strategies and accountability. Through the participants’ accounts of their experience in the DI, we learn which strategies would have been helpful to them had they learned them sooner in the Ph.D. process. These strategies are the basis of the content presented in the RDI. This paper aims to discuss the process through which we developed the RDI and our initial research findings. We designed and executed the first RDI in 2019 to offer participants tools and strategies for preparing to begin their Ph.D. and how to maintain degree progress throughout their studies. Throughout the workshop, the sessions included topics crucial to participant’s success in graduate school, such as time management, advisor-advisee relationships, building the dissertation committee, and managing their funding. We designed a research plan to include pre/post-surveys and interviews to create a rich dataset to understand the underrepresented minority student’s transition to the Ph.D. process. This paper will first discuss what the literature says about doctoral students’ transition into the Ph. D. We will then discuss how this RDI approach supports the specific needs of minority students using results from our pilot RDI. We conclude this paper with our plan to disseminate these workshops across multiple institutions in the US.

Artiles , M. S., & Cruz, J. M., & Blackowski, S. A., & Matusovich, H. M., & Adams, S. G., & Lee-Thomas, G. (2021, July), The Rising Doctoral Institute: Preparing Minority Students for the Transition into the Engineering Ph.D. Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37888

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