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Utilizing a Student Organization to Create a Self-Sustaining Mentorship Program in Engineering

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Engineering Leadership Development Constituent Committee Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1352.1 - 24.1352.7



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Paper Authors


Sean Lauderdale King STEM Talent Expansion Program at LSU

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I am currently a senior in mechanical engineering at LSU. I am the President of the Society of Peer Mentors at LSU, a subset of the STEM Talent Expansion Program. I also serve as the Corresponding Secretary for the LAA chapter of Tau Beta Pi. Next year, I plan on pursuing graduate studies in mechanical engineering with a specialization in system dynamics and control systems engineering.

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Samantha Noelle Fadrigalan

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Adrienne Steele Louisiana State University

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Summer Dann Louisiana State University


Warren N. Waggenspack Jr. Louisiana State University

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Warren N. Waggenspack, Jr. is currently the Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Engineering and holder of the Ned Adler Professorship in Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana State University. He obtained both his baccalaureate and master's degrees from LSU ME and his doctorate from Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering. He has been actively engaged in teaching, research and curricula development since joining the LSU faculty in 1988. As Associate Dean, he has acquired funding from NSF to support the development of several initiatives aimed at improving student retention and graduation rates as well as supporting faculty with development of effective learning and teaching pedagogies.

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Utilizing a Student Organization to Create a Self-Sustaining Mentorship Program in Engineering The goal of XX program at XX is to increase the number of students graduating fromCollege of Engineering by providing community building activities and programs betweenincoming students and the college staff, faculty and upper-class students. These programsinclude: X2 Camp (E2), transfer student bridge programs, freshman introduction engineeringclasses, robotics outreach to K-12, and other K-12 community based activities. XX program hasimproved the overall incoming student retention rates over 15%. This has translated into anincrease of graduation rates of approximately 8-10% for the last 2 years. The key to the successes of these programs was incorporating Peer Mentoring, a servicebased leadership program. This program developed from 5 upperclass students working thefreshmen bridge camp and has expanded into 90 students the other programs. Due to the rapidgrowth, a model was developed in the hiring, training and supporting the upper class students.Several award and recognition systems have been developed for the different activities as well asgraduation honor cords for active members and an overall leadership legacy award.Experiential learning through training and developing the next generation of engineering leadersbecame a critical part of the program. Several layers of increasing responsibilities are built intothe model. Students are encouraged to become team leaders first in the camp, robotics or courses.Once tackled, students are then encouraged to be leaders or officers in the program or their fieldof interest. Examples include session leaders for camp, group leaders for class, or chairs of therobotics program. Anecdotally, out of the eleven majors within the college, seven of theprofessional organizations have a peer mentor as a student officer. Other mentors are officers inthe Society of Women Engineers, Engineers without Borders and the student government. Society of Peer Mentors (SPM), a college wide student organization, provides support ofthe XX Peer Mentoring program. This organization collaborates with XX to promote leadershipwithin the college, interviews and recommends prospective students and assists with trainingnew students. In order to quantify the volunteer hours and provide recommendations for the nextgeneration of potential program leaders, a volunteer point system was implemented in the springof 2013. Students can obtain a variety of points through service-oriented activities such as K-12STEM nights, career presentations, robotics competitions and other college activities. Already,under the new points system, the number of participants actively involved in the SPM volunteeractivities has increased roughly 50% or about 45 students. In order to be an officer in SPM or a leader in XX, students must earn 24 volunteer.Officers have benefits of representing other students for the college on advisory boards, meetinghigh-level donors, and other high publicity events. Several of the officers have presented atconferences and two are preparing a webinar for the entire NSF XX Program about what XX hasaccomplished at XX. All of the mentors are encouraged to join the XX DistinguishedCommunicator program; currently every officer in SPM has been accepted in the program and isworking to earn the Distinguished Communicator Award. In all, XX has increased retention in the college and prepared students for managerialroles in industry. The students in the Peer Mentor program have a graduation rate close to 30%higher than that of the college as a whole, and the officers in the program are all leaders in thecollege. In the past two years, XX has succeeded in creating a program that is self-sustaining bymolding the leadership abilities of the students within the SPM student organization.

King, S. L., & Fadrigalan, S. N., & Steele, A., & Dann , S., & Waggenspack, W. N. (2014, June), Utilizing a Student Organization to Create a Self-Sustaining Mentorship Program in Engineering Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23285

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