July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Minorities in Engineering
In the United States there continues to be a “persistent underrepresentation of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minority students among those who complete an undergraduate degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)” (Holcombe & Kezar, 2019). Research shows there are various internal and external influences that contribute to student’s enrollment and retention in engineering programs, especially minority engineering students. As a result, these factors can impact a student’s engineering mindset and, in turn, retention in a program. In this work-in-progress study, an examination of first year African American/Black undergraduate students' state of mind were evaluated at a mid-size university over the course of the student’s first, Fall 2020, semester. Student’s in this population are currently enrolled in engineering 101, virtually, their first course in engineering. Additionally, the mid-sized university houses well-known scholar programs that support a 15% of the first-year engineering students. Through these programs, students receive various guidance and support to students throughout their tenure at the university.
Using a mix-method assessment, students were initially asked to participate in the Engineering State of Mind Instrument (ESMI), a recently tested and developed tool, at the mid-size university. The ESMI provides immediate evaluation to the student, assisting them in understanding their attitudes, perceptions, motivations and self-efficacy in pursuing an engineering degree. Students are able to use the results and recommended interventions to improve any mindset deficiencies. African American/Black students, who participated in the instrument, were asked to engage in a follow-up interview providing a more detail of their current mindset about the engineering field. Additionally, scholar affiliated, and non-programmed students were classified for further comparison of the programmatic impact. While conducting the interview, a series of questions were included regarding the intersection between virtual learning and belonging within the engineering community.
At the end of the Fall semester, this data will be analyzed to find significant correlations and themes regarding a student's engineering state of mind, motivation to persist through a program, and belonging within the engineering community. This will also highlight the impact of the current virtual learning environment. The preliminary data in research will be used to help inform the impact and role that scholar programs have on African American students in their first year of engineering.
Wiggins, J., & Gurganus, J. R. (2021, July), WIP: Assessing Engineering State of Mind of First-Year Undergraduate African American/Black Students in Scholar Programs Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38071
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