June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.1293.1 - 15.1293.9
Undergraduate Engineers and Interdisciplinary Peer-Mentoring Groups Abstract
In conjunction with a National Science Foundation-sponsored scholarship program, we have implemented an interdisciplinary peer mentoring support system. This paper describes the structure of the scholarship cohort, its advising program and associated seminar, and presents results from interviews with engineering and computer science student participants. These results indicate key successes of this program and we provide implementation suggestions for other related programs. Overall, students made connections with peers from multiple majors, while developing academic, professional and life skills.
Facilitating professional development and mentoring for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) ultimate success and satisfaction with their careers. A National Science Foundation S-STEM grant allows our Midwestern comprehensive university to award scholarships to cohorts of 23 students enrolled in one of the following majors: Mathematics; Computer Science; Biology; Information Technology; Electrical, Mechanical, Civil, and Computer Engineering; and Electronic, Manufacturing, Automotive and Computer Engineering Technology. Scholars can renew their $5000 scholarships (which provides almost full tuition assistance) for up to a total of three years. Key components of the program are the integration of research and academic experiences and a broadened participation of underrepresented groups. Other grant implementations may focus on cohorts within a single major, such as the graduate software engineering program at UW LaCrosse1, but we feel the benefits of an interdisciplinary program offer value beyond the scope of a single-major program. Additionally, by including biology, we have been able to increase the number of women recipients, creating a sense of critical mass within the program to support the women in engineering and computer science.
Selected students receive financial support and an opportunity to develop academic, professional and life skills through a weekly scholars seminar. The seminars familiarize scholars with various university support services, allow participation in interdisciplinary discussions addressing broad academic and career issues, and build relationships with other scholars in an interdisciplinary setting. A small group of math, science and engineering faculty oversees the seminar and selection of scholars.
This paper describes the structure of the interdisciplinary scholarship cohort, its advising program and associated seminar, and presents results from anonymous surveys and semi- structured interviews with the engineering and computer science student participants from the first three years of the program. We also present background research supporting peer mentoring and faculty involvement, and describe the process of selecting our scholar cohort and the structure of the seminar. We conclude with implementation suggestions for developing similar interdisciplinary communities of learners in other settings.
Bates, R., & Nykanen, D., & Hart, M., & Rahman, M. (2010, June), Undergraduate Engineers And Interdisciplinary Peer Mentoring Groups Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16475
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