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The Wise Summer Bridge Program: Assessing Student Attrition, Retention, And Program Effectiveness

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1053.1 - 6.1053.7



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Paper Authors

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Leyla Newton

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Shawna L. Fletcher

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Dana Newell

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Mary Anderson-Rowland

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

Session 1392

The WISE Summer Bridge Program: Assessing Student Attrition, Retention, and Program Effectiveness

Shawna L. Fletcher, Dana C. Newell, Leyla D. Newton, Mary R. Anderson-Rowland Women in Applied Science and Engineering Program, Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85287-5506 Abstract

For participating university programs, summer bridge outreach has helped to significantly increase student retention in academic majors. For female engineering students, bridge programs not only serve an academic need, but also serve to foster networking relationships between students prior to starting the semester. The Women in Applied Science and Engineering (WISE) Summer Bridge Program was designed to prepare incoming female students for the transition from high school to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS). Since 1998, this program has offered academic reviews in courses such as mathematics, physics, and chemistry. In addition, computer-based curricula have been offered in Maple, Excel, and HTML to better prepare students for their freshmen introductory engineering courses.

During the Fall 2000 semester, summer bridge participants from 1998, 1999, and 2000 were surveyed on program effectiveness. Survey categories included general information, WISE Bridge experience, WISE services, and additional information. Survey results indicated that a significant number of respondents were first introduced to engineering by a family member and subsequently, enrolled in engineering because of a strong aptitude for math and science. Students indicated that the WISE Bridge Program, as well as other services offered in the CEAS and at ASU, aided them in their first semester. In addition, WISE program services such as academic advising, mentoring, and tutoring were also mentioned as significant in first semester retention of these students.

An overview of the WISE Summer Bridge Program will be presented as well as survey results from 1998, 1999, and 2000 participants. In addition, the paper will discuss the need for and impact of bridge programs specifically geared toward female engineering students as well as future projections of implementation and direction of student programs.

I. Introduction

Across the nation, academic institutions have found that summer bridge programs have helped to significantly increase student retention in engineering disciplines. Summer bridge programs specifically designed for female students not only serve to meet academic needs, but also serve to aid students in developing networking relationships and foster community building. Studies have indicated that obstacles women face in attaining engineering degrees may be categorized as both societal/cultural barriers as well as institutional1. For many women, lack of information concerning the engineering curriculum and stereotypes that regard aptitude for math and science Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Newton, L., & Fletcher, S. L., & Newell, D., & Anderson-Rowland, M. (2001, June), The Wise Summer Bridge Program: Assessing Student Attrition, Retention, And Program Effectiveness Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--10034

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