June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Minorities in Engineering
In 2011, STEM faculty members at Penn State Harrisburg applied and were awarded an NSF grant in order to increase and retain under-represented, female, first-generation, and low-income STEM college students, due to demonstrated national and regional needs to augment these populations in higher education STEM programs. In a recent ASEE paper, the authors published the steps taken in implementing a university STEM scholarship program to attain the simultaneous goals of increasing STEM enrollment and increase diversity in the STEM fields. In particular, the authors evaluated the necessity of strong and broad-based (peers, faculty, industrial) mentoring. Initial results were encouraging with regards to STEM scholarship student retention.
Based on this initial work, the authors paired freshman STEM scholars with a peer mentor in the same or a similar major, in addition to pairing every STEM scholar with a faculty mentor. After conducting a brief mentor/mentee training session, the peer mentoring teams met on a monthly basis throughout the semester. The authors evaluated the effectiveness of the mentoring programs through a series of pre-, mid-, and post-year assessments. The authors used a combination of assessment tools from the NSF-approved Assessing Women and Men in Engineering and the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire. These tools are designed to identify longitudinal changes in the self-efficacy of undergraduate students studying engineering. Results obtained indicate a significant improvement in metacognitive strategies, goal orientation, resource management, and academic performance. Additionally, many STEM scholars expressed interest in participating in future mentoring programs. In addition to the traditional peer and faculty mentors, industry mentors have provided the opportunity to share their passion for their profession and help STEM students develop communication and leadership skills. This has shown to generate excitement and enhance students’ success.
The success of the mentoring program, coupled with Learning Center initiatives and support from the NSF STEM club, enhances the STEM experience of women and underrepresented population at Penn State Harrisburg.
The authors thank the National Science Foundation Award 1154516 for their support.
Morales, A., & Agili, S. S., & Vidalis, S. M., & Null, L. M., & Sliko, J. L. (2017, June), The Role of Customized Mentoring in a Successful STEM Scholarship Program for Underrepresented Groups Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/29003
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