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Recent trends in engineering education show an increased effort to mitigate the rate of attrition in graduate programs. Previous work has identified several factors that correlate with student departure, including academic environment, interest, advisor-advisee relationship, self-efficacy, and socialization. Furthermore, underrepresented groups in graduate education often contend with elevated or additional challenges to their preparation and socialization because of their historically marginalized social identities. Various programs and initiatives, such as the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program (or McNair, for short), have sought to increase graduate enrollment among these populations, demonstrating effects on increasing graduate enrollment among underrepresented students. Aside from evaluative data, few studies show how socialization for graduate programs begins in these undergraduate programs and translates to graduate socialization processes. Leveraging the McNair program and its alumni as an ideal platform to study the development and translation of graduate socialization processes through undergraduate and graduate programs, this work in progress paper (WIP) presents the research design for an upcoming study. In this study, we examine McNair alumni pursuing doctoral degrees in engineering disciplines to examine how the program prepared them to cope with graduate education challenges and explore the socialization of graduate students via these types of undergraduate academic support programs. The findings of this study will reveal how student preparation can facilitate their persistence during the transition to graduate education. Ultimately, these findings will show which support mechanisms and services are lacking from the typical graduate socialization process. This insight will allow all engineering departments to better facilitate the preparation of students before beginning graduate education. Furthermore, it will outline preventative measures to mitigate many of the everyday adverse situations graduate students encounter.
Shanachilubwa, K., & Berdanier, C., & Sallai, G. (2022, August), Understanding Engineering Doctoral Preparation and Socialization through McNair Scholars Program Alumni Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. https://peer.asee.org/40741
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