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Work in Progress: A Path to Graduation: Helping First-Year Low Income, Rural STEM Students Succeed

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Work in Progress Postcard Session

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

21

DOI

10.18260/1-2--33585

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33585

Download Count

182

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Paper Authors

biography

Carol S. Gattis University of Arkansas

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Dr. Carol Gattis is the Associate Dean Emeritus of the Honors College and an adjunct Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Arkansas. Her academic research focuses on STEM education, developing programs for the recruitment, retention and graduation of a diverse population of students. Carol also serves as a consultant specializing in new program development and grants. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the U of A and has served on the industrial engineering faculty since 1991.

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biography

Xochitl Delgado Solorzano University of Arkansas

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Xochitl Delgado Solorzano is the director of the Honors College Path Program at the University of Arkansas. In this capacity she oversees all aspects of the Path Program, including recruitment and student success, grant requirements, and fundraising.

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Don Nix University of Arkansas

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Don Nix, MSW, directs the Accelerate Student Achievement Program and the 360 Advising Program at the University of Arkansas. Don's work, part of the university's broader Student Success initiatives, centers on providing proactive academic and social support to first generation college students, low-income students, and students with demonstrated need for academic support during the transition from high school to college.

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Jennie S. Popp Ph.D. University of Arkansas

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Jennie Popp, Ph.D. is a Professor of Agricultural Economics and the Associate Dean of the Honors College at University of Arkansas. As Associate Dean, Dr. Popp contributes to student success initiatives through the management of Honors College study abroad and research grant programs, the facilitation of the development of service learning and other new courses, promotion of undergraduate research activities and in contributions to the PTG and Honors College Path programs. Her research has focused on identification and implementation of sustainable agricultural best management practices. She has been the lead or co-principle investigator on over $20 million in federally competitive grants to support her research.

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biography

Michele Cleary Cleary Scientific Intelligence, LLC

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Ms. Michele Cleary is the founder and owner of Cleary Scientific Intelligence, LLC., working with academic, technology, and life science clients. She specializes in synthesizing scientific literature, policy analyses, and research data into accessible and persuasive proposals, reports, white papers, and marketing materials. Ms. Cleary earned her BA in Biology from Macalester College and did her doctoral work in Health Services Research from the University of Minnesota.

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Wenjuo Lo University of Arkansas

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Dr. Wen-Juo Lo is an Associate Professor in the Educational Statistics and Research Methodology (ESRM) program at the University of Arkansas. His research interests involve methodological issues related to analyses with a focus on psychometric methods. The recent research agenda concentrates statistical methods for the detection of bias in psychological measurement, especially measurement invariance on latent factor models. In addition, he also conducts research to develop effective latent variable model and instrument that reflects the factors of college students’ retention.

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Bryan Hill University of Arkansas

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Bryan Hill earned a B.S. and M.S. in Industrial Engineering and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Arkansas. Currently, Bryan is the Associate Dean for Student Success at the University of Arkansas College of Engineering. He is also director of UAteach, a secondary math, science and computer science teacher education program. Bryan has more than 15 years of experience in engineering student recruitment, retention, diversity initiatives, and K-12 outreach programs. Bryan is PI on STEM educational and outreach grants totaling $6.6m.

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Paul D. Adams University of Arkansas

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Abstract

Work in Progress: A Path to Graduation: Helping First-Year Low Income, Rural STEM Students Succeed

This Work in Progress paper describes a program which was developed to help first-year low income engineering students from rural areas excel and succeed. The paper also provides initial program results and assessment available at submission time.

While the demand for engineers exceeds the supply, in many rural and economically struggling states, the gap between supply and demand is even greater. One way to help close that gap is to recruit often previously overlooked students – low income and rural students – showing them a path for attending college and succeeding. Many low-income, rural students have interest in the field, but lack an understanding of how to access higher education. Once in college, these students often struggle due to financial challenges; poor academic preparation by their small, financially-struggling schools; and little social support due to a lack of college-going culture in their communities. The Path to Graduation (PTG) program is designed to help these students by better addressing the financial, academic and social barriers to success, so that they can thrive and succeed in STEM. The PTG program will span the students’ entire undergraduate career from first-year to graduation. Currently, the program is finishing its first year, so only those activities will be discussed in this paper.

All eligible PTG students have demonstrated financial need, qualifying for Pell Grants and/or Subsidized Stafford Loans. PTG scholarships are provided by an NSF S-STEM grant to help remove remaining financial barriers for these students.

PTG students must have high school GPAs of at least 3.50 and composite ACT scores of 23 - 27 (SAT of 1290-1550). As these students are rarely prepared to take Calculus I, these PTG engineering students attend a residential summer bridge program the July after their high school graduation which includes an intensive 5-credit hour engineering mathematics course that will prepare them for Calculus I in their fall semester. The bridge program also includes a 1-credit hour ‘research lite’ course to help them understand research and spark interest early in their academic career. The bridge program also provides peer mentors, professional mentors, social opportunities, field trips and opportunities to learn about engineering careers.

Starting the fall semester, PTG students are integrally engaged with the Honors College (HC), despite not being academically HC-eligible as first-year students due to their ACT score. One objective of the PTG program is to help these students attain the level of academic achievement to become Honors students later in their academic program. PTG students live in the Honors residence hall during their first year and have access to all HC programming on-site. This allows them to be exposed to HC opportunities and culture, as well as providing them with social opportunities. PTG students also participate in the HC Path program which provides academic success advising with professional mentors, monthly meetings, peer mentoring and social opportunities. First-year monthly meetings include topics such as negotiating the college experience, diversity and inclusion, mentee training, how to interact with faculty, long-term planning, internships, research and study abroad.

Faculty mentors lead multi-disciplinary research clusters of PTG students to provide faculty guidance, creating an intellectual community and building their interest in research. Faculty mentors receive training in mentoring best practices, diversity and inclusion.

It is anticipated that the PTG program will help improve the persistence of STEM students from rural populations, as well as help researchers understand the barriers and persistence factors faced by rural students. A survey of PTG and non-PTG first-year students was recently conducted and will provide important information regarding barriers and persistence factors, including those faced by rural students; results will be provided. PTG students will also be surveyed to determine their experiences and needs in order to better understand barriers to success, while also assessing the PTG first-year program components.

Gattis, C. S., & Delgado Solorzano, X., & Nix, D., & Popp, J. S., & Cleary, M., & Lo, W., & Hill, B., & Adams, P. D. (2019, June), Work in Progress: A Path to Graduation: Helping First-Year Low Income, Rural STEM Students Succeed Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33585

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015