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The St@R Project: An Initiative To Increase The Retention Rates Of 1 St And 2 Nd Year Underrepresented Students Enrolled In Electrical Engineering

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Special programs and activities for minorities in engineering

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1471.1 - 12.1471.13



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Paper Authors


Edward Brown

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Edward E. Brown, Jr. is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He received his B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania (1992). He received his M.S. (2000) and Ph.D. (2004) in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University. He is a 2005-2006 recipient of the Semiconductor Industry Association Stay Tech Award which focuses on improving the retention rates of undergraduate engineering students.

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

The ST@R Project: An Initiative to Increase the Retention Rates of 1st and 2nd Year Underrepresented Students Enrolled in Electrical Engineering


According to a 2002 NSF report, only 20.5% of engineering bachelor degrees in the U.S. was awarded to women and 11.6% to African American, Latin American, and Native American (AALANA) students1. To address the growing concerns of the underrepresented populations within the field of electrical engineering as well as other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) related disciplines at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the ST@R Project was created. The ST@R Project (which stands for Stay Tech @ RIT) is an initiative sponsored by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) seeking to study new and innovative methods to increase the recruitment and retention rates of these underrepresented populations. The ST@R Project achieves these goals by focusing its efforts on three major areas: (1) Student Support Services and Outreach Efforts, (2) Mentoring and Coaching, and (3) Career Exploration and Professional Development. To improve the pipeline of electrical engineers as well as increase the number of underrepresented individuals, the ST@R project also focuses on researching and developing a pedagogical system that addresses diverse teaching and learning styles within the engineering classroom. The main objective is to appropriately accommodate the needs of an increasingly diverse student population to insure overall student success within the various fields of engineering. This means that understanding issues related to multicontextuality, multiple intelligences, and learning organizations are significant in achieving this effort.

This report will discuss the current results of the ST@R project and will emphasize the positive impact of the Career Exploration and Professional Development component of the program. While the integration of teaching and research is an important topic in the field of engineering education, via the ST@R Project, it was also discovered how powerful integrating teaching and industry can be for students’ overall understanding of engineering course material. It is hoped that through the ST@R Project, a framework for integrating teaching, research, and industry can be properly developed.


The objective of the ST@R Project is to address the issue of increasing the retention rate of first and second year students enrolled in electrical engineering and electrical engineering-related majors at RIT with an emphasis on increasing career opportunities for individuals traditionally underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines. This document will report on the results and findings of the ST@R Project for the 2005-2006 academic school year.


Brown, E. (2007, June), The St@R Project: An Initiative To Increase The Retention Rates Of 1 St And 2 Nd Year Underrepresented Students Enrolled In Electrical Engineering Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3031

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