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Year 3 of an S-STEM Summer Scholarship for a Sophomore Bridge Program

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

NSF Grantees: S-STEM 2

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Katie Evans Louisiana Tech University

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Dr. Katie Evans is the Associate Dean of Strategic Initiatives in the College of Engineering and Science, Academic Director of Mathematics and Statistics and Online Programs, the Entergy LP and L/NOPSI #3 and #4 Professor of Mathematics, the Director of the Integrated STEM Education Research Center, and the Director of the Office for Women in Science and Engineering and Louisiana Tech University. Dr. Evans also serves as the Chair of the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program Proposal Review Committee. She earned her B.S. in Mathematics from Morehead State University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Mathematics at Virginia Tech. After a postdoctoral position in Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University, she joined Louisiana Tech in 2005. Her current research focuses on STEM education and diversity and inclusion initiatives. Dr. Evans has been awarded over $5M as PI or Co-PI on federal, state, and local grants. Additionally, she currently serves as the Workforce Development Lead (senior personnel) on a $6M National Science Foundation EPSCoR project across three universities.

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Mitzi Desselles Ph.D. Louisiana Tech University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Desselles is Associate Professor and Chester Ellis Endowed Professorship in the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Louisiana Tech University. She is a member of the graduate faculty in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

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Marisa K. Orr Clemson University Orcid 16x16

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Marisa K. Orr is an Assistant Professor in Engineering and Science Education with a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University. Her research interests include student persistence and pathways in engineering, gender equity, diversity, and academic policy. Dr. Orr is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award for her research entitled, “Empowering Students to be Adaptive Decision-Makers.”

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Louisiana Tech University has completed its third year of an S-STEM Scholarship Program to serve as a Sophomore Bridge for engineering majors. The Engineering Fast-Forward Scholarship program supports engineering majors in the summer between their first and second years to take one engineering and one mathematics course in their major, along with a professional development (PD) course and opportunities to visit regional companies employing engineers. The purpose of the program is to provide students with scholarships and support while they have a gentler transition into more challenging sophomore engineering and mathematics coursework.

In the first three years of the program, we have supported 54 students with the median award size of $6,000 in Year 1 (average $5,762) and $6,500 in Years 2 and 3 (averaging $5,945 and $6,043 in Years 2 and 3 respectively). The program provides numerous student support services and interventions. Students benefit from a strong cohort experience with increased faculty interaction. The S-STEM Scholars have their own sections of Statics and Calculus III in summer. The course instructors, as well as other faculty from the college, participate in the industry tours to facilitate out-of-class interaction with faculty. The S-STEM Scholars also enroll in a two-credit hour professional development course where they are taught rotational spatial visualization skills, enhanced by professional development activities, including Gallup Clifton StrengthsFinder, team-building activities, job search skills, interview skills training, resume design, and professional conduct before, during, and after industry visits. Each S-STEM cohort has a dedicated tutor for Calculus, Statics, and spatial visualization, with tutoring being available in the evenings and weekends.

As of June 2019, the cumulative GPA of the Summer 2017 S-STEM Scholars ranges from 2.886 to 3.980, with an average cumulative GPA of 3.341, while the cumulative GPA of the Summer 2018 S-STEM Scholars ranges from 2.539 to 4.000, with an average cumulative GPA of 3.240. S-STEM scholars have experienced a lower drop-fail-withdraw (DFW) rate in Statics versus comparable figures for the past five years among all engineering students at the University. The DFW rate for Statics among S-STEM students in 2017 was 11% compared to 26% to 37% over the past five years. In 2018 and 2019, the DFW rates for S-STEM Students in Statics were 24% and 26%, respectively, which are on the low end for DFW rates typically observed. The DFW rates for Calculus III among S-STEM students in 2017, 2018, and 2019 were 5.5%, 24%, and 32%, respectively. The DFW rate in Calculus III for the past five years among all engineering students at the University has varied from 25%-45%. To date, 34 of the 35 S-STEM Scholars from 2017 and 2018 have been retained in a STEM major (one student resigned from the university for medical reasons). Only three of the 35 students have left engineering.

Evans, K., & Desselles, M., & Orr, M. K. (2020, June), Year 3 of an S-STEM Summer Scholarship for a Sophomore Bridge Program Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35713

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