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WIP: Support to Success: How Institutional Resources Foster Increased Academic Outcomes for Marginalized Students in Electrical and Computer Engineering Departments

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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

Electrical and Computer Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38100

Download Count

24

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Paper Authors

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Corrine M. Schwarting Iowa State University

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Kent A. Crick Iowa State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9864-5947

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Kent Crick is currently in his third year as a graduate student at Iowa State University. He is currently a PhD candidate in Counseling Psychology and conducts research in self-determination as it relates to student and faculty motivation and well-being. Prior to attending Iowa State, he obtained a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Indianapolis. He then worked as a research coordinator for the Diabetes and Translational Research Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, IN for three years.

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Mack Shelley Iowa State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-0414-5843

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Mack Shelley holds the position of University Professor of Political Science, Statistics, and School of Education. He currently serves as Chair of the Department of Political Science. His research and teaching focuses on public policy. He has extensive experience with grants- and contracts-funded research and evaluation for federal and state agencies, and for nonprofit organizations.

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Elise A. Frickey Iowa State University

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Elise is a graduate student at Iowa State University. As a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology, she has been involved with research on the application of self-determination theory to different domains to allow for better understanding of the relationships between contextual factors, basic psychological needs, and indices of well-being. Prior to attending Iowa State University, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish from Hillsdale College.

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Madelyne Losby Iowa State University

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Lisa M. Larson Iowa State University

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Dr. Larson is a professor in the department of psychology. She has examined Self Determination Theory as a framework to explain how the environment impacts well-being for faculty, students in general, and student veterans. Her other work includes the intersection of personality and vocational interest as well as how counselors learn to become effective in their work with clients.

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Abstract

Women and people of color are underrepresented in career fields related to science, technology, and math [1]. Industry positions parallel these findings, with white men holding a majority of jobs in engineering. Women comprise 47% of the overall workforce yet hold only 12% of jobs in engineering fields [2]. While women’s undergraduate graduation rates in science, technology, and mathematics have increased two to ten times since the 1970s [3], engineering and computer science lag behind. Today, women in engineering and computer science make up only 19% and 18% of undergraduate engineering degrees awarded, respectively [4]. Additionally, women in engineering have reported strained relationships with their male classmates [5] and are less likely to pursue STEM occupations post-graduation [6-7].

This divide begins at the university level. A large Midwestern university developed a multidisciplinary S-STEM: Scholarships for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math National Science Foundation (NSF) program, with the aims to recruit, retain, and support underrepresented students in electrical and computer engineering (ECpE) and for STEM majors as a whole. This program supports students financially, professionally, and interpersonally via scholarship funding, leadership development, and scholar seminars. A Qualtrics survey distributed via email was completed by students within the program to collect scholarship-related information required by NSF. Program scholars were then matched to a control group of similar ECpE peers. Student data were obtained from the Office of the Registrar and matched by academic outcomes (high school GPA, standardized test scores) and demographic variables (sex, race).

It was expected that after three semesters program scholars would have significantly higher GPAs and would be retained at a higher rate, compared to the matched group. An independent samples t-test was used to compare the mean GPAs of the scholars’ group and the matched group. A chi square analysis was used to compare the proportion of the scholars versus the proportion of the matched group who were retained. Mean GPA did not differ after the first semester between program scholars (M = 3.17, SD = .79) and the control group (M = 3.21, SD = .79; t = -.27, p = .78) but did significantly differ after three semesters in the program. Program scholars’ third semester GPA (M = 3.32, SD = .57) was significantly higher than their matched peers’ GPA (M = 2.96, SD = .81; t = 2.92, p = .004). Moreover, the proportion of program scholars who were retained (98.6%) compared to the matched control group (89.9%) was significantly higher (chi-square = 5.45, p = .02). The literature emphasizes the need for increased diversity in STEM fields. These findings suggest that underrepresented students benefit from department support, resulting in higher academic performance over time and enhanced retention. These findings suggest the cumulation of support (i.e., financial, meetings with faculty, peer support groups, leadership opportunities) for underrepresented students in the program is beneficial and should be institutionalized where possible beyond the life of the grant. We prefer a poster.

Schwarting, C. M., & Crick, K. A., & Shelley, M., & Frickey, E. A., & Losby, M., & Larson, L. M. (2021, July), WIP: Support to Success: How Institutional Resources Foster Increased Academic Outcomes for Marginalized Students in Electrical and Computer Engineering Departments Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38100

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