June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Minorities in Engineering
22.1659.1 - 22.1659.23
UW GenOM Project: A Successful Undergraduate Research Program for Science and Engineering Undergraduates The overarching goal of the Genomics Outreach for Minorities (GenOM) Project is todevelop and sustain a comprehensive umbrella program to coordinate recruitment, retention, andtraining activities for groups that are currently significantly underrepresented in science andengineering fields, focusing on African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans,Alaskan Natives, Filipino Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Since 2003, thisprogram has focused on two major outcomes: increasing the number of underrepresentedminority students in the pipeline in STEM from underrepresented populations transitioning fromundergraduate to graduate studies, and retaining graduate students who are actively conductingresearch in STEM and assisting them in their transition to a career in their field. Researchers such as Gándara (2006) have found that effective educational interventionprograms for minority students include the following components, all of which are integral toGenOM: (a) intensive monitoring of participants, (b) an articulated program that reaches acrossgrade levels, (c) consistent messages to raise aspirations, (d) building group cohesion and a senseof membership in the school and the program, and (e) access to rigorous curriculum and supportto succeed in that curriculum. Also, undergraduate research has become common at mostresearch-intensive universities, connecting students with faculty mentors in research labs. Thismentorship has been shown to be a very powerful way to retain students in STEM fields asstudents learn that science is an intensely human enterprise comprised of learners and explorers. As an example, the Bioengineering department has 44% of current graduate students aswomen, and 10% are underrepresented minority. This is compared to 28% and 4.9%respectively in our entire College of Engineering. While Bioengineering is doing relatively well,the rest of our campus is still struggling to keep minority students in STEM fields. Of the 3,123STEM graduate students at the university in Winter Quarter 2009, only 148 (4.7%) wereunderrepresented minority, and only 60 of those (1.9%) were women. Of the 6,540 STEMundergraduates in the same time period, only 6.82% were underrepresented. Compared to thenumber of ethnic minorities in the population, this is significantly lower. At ASEE, we will present data to show the successful retention of ethnic minorities thatwe have had through our GenOM Project as well as program elements that have made the projectsuccessful. For example, the average retention rate nationwide for underrepresented studentsinterested in science and engineering from the freshman to senior years in college is only 32%.But, the retention rate for GenOM summer incoming freshmen students that continue in scienceand engineering is around 90%. Among 98 of our undergraduate students who have previouslyparticipated in undergraduate research, 93 (95%) of the students are currently retained in STEMfields. Also, from the 46 students who have earned their bachelor’s degrees after participating inundergraduate research, 43 (94%) are still in STEM fields. These statistics show that GenOMhas been highly successful at retaining ethnic minority students in science and engineering.
Kang, A., & Peterson, L. A., & Hernandez, E. M. (2011, June), UW GenOM Project: A Successful Undergraduate Research Program Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18892
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