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Using Board Spectrum Technological Projects to Introduce Diverse Student Populations to Biological & Agricultural Engineering

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Biological and Agricultural Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37986

Download Count

27

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Paper Authors

biography

Carol S. Stwalley Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Dr. Carol S. Stwalley, P.E. joined the Minority Engineering Program team in the fall of 2007 as Recruitment and Retention Analyst. She earned her Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Ph.D. from Agriculture and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. Dr. Stwalley has more than 20 years in diversity work, with considerable background working with K-12 students from the Women in Engineering Programs at Purdue. Her current capacity is as Recruitment and Retention Data Analyst for the Minority Engineering Program at Purdue, where she aids the organization assisting historically underrepresented groups of students in engineering. Her work with the Rising Scholar NSF S-STEM program includes the collection, analysis, and management of the data pertaining to the outreach, recruitment, retention and graduation of the Rising Scholars students, as well as serving as the program interface with the undergraduate participants.

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Robert Merton Stwalley III P.E. Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Dr. Robert M. Stwalley III, P.E. joined the Agricultural & Biological Engineering department as a faculty member in the fall of 2013. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Biological Engineering (ABE) and his M.S.E. and Ph.D. from Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. Dr. Stwalley is the former Director of Professional Practice at Purdue, has more than 20 years in STEM education, and has been a long-term advocate for improving equity in education. He is a long serving public school board member and President of the Indiana School Board Association. In his current capacity as an ABE professor, Dr. Stwalley works on precision livestock instrumentation to improve animal welfare and performance, increasing potable water access in the developing world through tube well utilization, and equity in access to higher education for low socio-economic status students. Dr. Stwalley developed the Rising Scholars program to help demonstrate that access and support are the most crucial elements of success in higher education for STEM majors.

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Virginia Lynn Booth-Womack Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Virginia Booth Womack joined the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) at Purdue University in 2004 as Director. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Purdue University. Ms. Booth Womack has over 30 years’ experience leading advocacy efforts for historically underrepresented students at a national level and has served as the interim executive director for the National Society of Black Engineers. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering Education at Purdue University. Ms. Booth Womack has successfully crafted and maintained the collegiate cultural aspects of excellency in scholarship, fellowship for participants, and assistance to those in need within the MEP. The highly successful, empathetic and high-touch model of student counseling used by MEP was a model for assisting the Rising Scholars cohorts.

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Grace Lynn Baldwin

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Grace Baldwin, joined the Rising Scholar NSF S-STEM program in the Summer of 2017 as a Graduate Research Assistant. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Purdue University in Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) with a focus in Environment and Natural Resources Engineering. She has worked with the Rising Scholars' Program during the completion of her Master of Science in Agricultural and Biological Engineering and into her current Ph.D. program at Purdue University also in ABE. As part of the Rising Scholars’ program, she has helped plan and organize the student recruitment events, align students with summer research experiences and faculty mentors, and conduct student interviews for program analysis and evaluation. Ms. Baldwin has actively contributed to the collection and analysis of data for the Rising Scholars program, as well as the dissemination of information about the progress of the program.

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Sarah LaRose Purdue University

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Dr. Sarah E. LaRose joined the Department of Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication at Purdue University in the fall of 2018 as an Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut, and her Ph.D. in Agricultural Education and Communication from the University of Florida. Dr. LaRose has over 13 years of experience in agricultural education in secondary and postsecondary settings. Since joining the faculty at Purdue, Dr. LaRose serves as a teacher educator, preparing future agricultural educators to meet the needs of a diverse array of learners in their classes. She teaches coursework in curriculum design, laboratory teaching practices, and teaching methods in agricultural education. Central to all of Dr. LaRose’s work as an educator and a scholar is an effort to address inequities in agricultural education curriculum, program design, and recruitment practices.

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Abstract

The researchers were awarded an NSF S-STEM grant through DUE to explore the connection between student support networks and success within collegiate STEM field majors in this on-going diversity study. The Rising Scholar student participants were selected from a pool of low socio-economic status applicants that were denied admission straight into engineering, but given admission into the university. Acceptance into the Rising Scholar program was evaluated on the basis of the quality of the student’s support networks and their readiness for higher education. A four year annual scholarship of $6,500 was offered in exchange for providing data to the researchers and following a proscribed path through the institution filled with opportunities to meet professional contacts and potential support network members. A significant portion of the recommended process for the Rising Scholar students was their involvement in on-going multi-disciplinary research activities within the institution through pre-existing programs.

Long-term feedback from BAE students has shown how the varied activities of our discipline appeal to students that do not feel comfortable with the rigid academic silos of the larger engineering disciplines. It was hypothesized that this broad-based approach to engineering problems might also appeal to the undecided general nature of the Rising Scholar student population. Project opportunities were felt to be the optimal manner to appeal to this interest, and they were provided at the pre-sophomore and pre-junior levels, with the aim to get the student associated with an on-going faculty directed project initially and then to let them conduct their own project next. Larger communication exercises based upon the research activities were incorporated into the seminar classes with the ultimate aim of producing undergraduate journal papers for the students.

Multiple Rising Scholar students have elected to become involved with an interdisciplinary engineering research project co-directed by the Principle Investigator, an effort to develop a cooling pad for sows in farrowing crates. This project is on-going and utilizes researchers from BAE, Animal Sciences, and the animal behavioral unit of USDA. There are US and foreign patents pending on the technology, and a commercial partner has concluded an agreement with the university licensing arm. Students are exposed to the merged worlds of academic research and commercial product development. The overall technical effort involves thermodynamics, heat transfer, electronic sensor selection and placement, computerized data acquisition, agricultural building technology, swine physiology and behavior, and the interplay between the various elements. The students have the ability to find an element within the work to call their own and pursue, and there have been six unique Rising Scholar projects in three years.

The data collection under the approved research protocols was aimed at the tracking the growth of the students’ professional support networks, so there were no pre-approved questions regarding the efficacy of multi-disciplinary projects. However, after-the-fact data would seem to indicate that the Rising Scholar students have selected final STEM majors within the university that are smaller and create a more familial environment for their students, like Biological & Agricultural Engineering.

Stwalley, C. S., & Stwalley, R. M., & Booth-Womack, V. L., & Baldwin, G. L., & LaRose, S. (2021, July), Using Board Spectrum Technological Projects to Introduce Diverse Student Populations to Biological & Agricultural Engineering Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37986

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