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Toward an Understanding of the Effect on Summer Programming on Early Engineering Student Outcomes

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

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Paper Authors

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Elizabeth A. Sanders University of Michigan


Molly H. Goldstein University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Orcid 16x16

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Molly H. Goldstein is an engineering design educator and researcher at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She previously worked as an environmental engineer specializing in air quality influencing her focus in engineering design with environmental concerns. Her research interests include how students approach decision making in an engineering design context. She obtained her BS in General Engineering (Systems & Design) and MS in Systems and Entrepreneurial Engineering from the University of Illinois and PhD in Engineering Education from Purdue University.

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Gretchen M. Forman University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Introduction: Since 2013, the COE at (BLIND) University has conducted a bridge program for 30-50 entering students from the state to get a head start on their transition from high school to university. The program, entitled Summer Scholars, consists of an eight-week residential program where students take a rigorous and intensive University course (e.g. chemistry, calculus) with other (Blind) students, as well as a cohort-based elective (Engineering Projects, Research, or Professional Development). In addition, students are mentored in successful student behaviors such as study skills, and participate in activities that promote community-building as well as students’ growth as engineers (e.g., local industry visits). While Summer Scholars is open to all students, in-state underrepresented (in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, and low-sending counties) students are targeted with special invitation and scholarships. Moreover, this program differs from traditional summer bridge programs in that it targets students getting a “head start” rather than those seeking remediation course work.

Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to understand the effect of this summer programming on students in the areas of retention, GPA, pathway changes, and sense of community.

Methods: We have collected data from three cohorts of this program through surveys reporting students’ department, current GPA, demographics, and others. We used those surveys to create a purposeful sample of maximum variation for qualitative interviews with ten students from Summer Scholars 2018. We conducted 90-minute, in-depth interviews with these students to understand their experience in Summer Scholars and at the University since completion of the program. We analyzed the transcripts from the interview using an inductive approach to coding the data to uncover themes.

Preliminary Results: Preliminary results suggest that the Summer Scholars program is impactful for students. Ongoing work will discuss the themes we discovered from our analysis and next steps for our research team.

Sanders, E. A., & Goldstein, M. H., & Forman, G. M. (2020, June), Toward an Understanding of the Effect on Summer Programming on Early Engineering Student Outcomes Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35393

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