Asee peer logo

The Role of Connectedness for Minoritized Students at a Mentoring Conference

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Carin Queener University of Michigan

visit author page

Carin Queener is a rising senior in the department of Industrial and Operations Engineering.

visit author page


Joi-Lynn Mondisa University of Michigan Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Joi Mondisa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering and an Engineering Education Faculty Member at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. Dr. Mondisa holds a PhD in Engineering Education, an MS in Industrial Engineering, an MBA, and a BS in General Engineering. She researches STEM mentoring experiences and mentoring intervention programs in higher education.

visit author page


Dorian Davis

visit author page

Dr. Dorian Davis is the Owner of Walker Davis Consulting Group, a student success centered company assisting kindergarten-higher education leaders, corporations and organizations transform lives through academic course development, process and system improvement and professional development. Most recently, Dr. Davis was the Program Specialist for the ADVANCE Faculty Development grant and the Sr. IT Analyst and Designer in Information Technology Services for North Carolina A&T State University. Prior to joining higher education, she spent nearly two decades in corporate leadership and engineering working with companies and government agencies such as 3M, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation and the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Davis received her PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University, M.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. Dr. Davis has received numerous honors and awards.

visit author page


Renaldo C. Blocker The "Why You?" Initiative, Inc.

visit author page

Dr. Renaldo C. Blocker is an Associate Consultant and Assistant Professor in the Department of Healthcare Systems Engineering and in the Mayo Clinic’s Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery (Rochester, MN). He's the Co-Founder of the "Why You?" Initiative, Inc.

He earned his Ph.D (2012) and a Masters (2010) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Industrial and Systems Engineering concentrating in Human Factors and Ergonomics. Also, Dr. Blocker received a master’s degree (2006) in Computer Science from San Francisco State University. He attended Albany State University (Albany, GA) where he obtained a bachelor’s degree (2003) in Computer Science. He conducts research studies to ameliorate complex healthcare system issues by redesigning processes, tools and technologies.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Multiple research studies have highlighted a variety of compounding factors (e.g., academic and social isolation, confronting unwelcoming climates) which contribute to the small numbers of Black students in STEM higher education. Mentoring has been shown to help support minoritized populations and their development of a sense of belonging. Formal mentoring programs, which provide social support, and access to mentors, peers, and resources, help to mitigate issues of isolation. In this exploratory study, we investigate the effects of The “Why You?” Initiative, Inc. [YU?] Biannual Spring Confab—a conference designed to facilitate excellence and professional/academic development among minoritized populations. We examine conference participants’ connectedness, that is, how linked a participant feels to the community. Eleven participants completed a pre- and post- survey featuring statements and open-ended questions about their experience. Preliminary findings indicate that conference attendance generally increased participants’ connectedness, although students desired more networking time. Subsequently, the conference should be repeated and allow more time for interactions.

Queener, C., & Mondisa, J., & Davis, D., & Blocker, R. C. (2020, June), The Role of Connectedness for Minoritized Students at a Mentoring Conference Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35363

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: © 2020 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