June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Minorities in Engineering
15.1387.1 - 15.1387.16
YES: A NSF S-STEM Scholarship Program Experience at the University of Central Florida
According to a study conducted by J. D. Angrist (MIT) and colleagues1 involving 1,600 students at a large Canadian university (the equivalent of an American state university with heavily subsidized tuition), the combination of participation in (a) a scholarship program and (b) academic support services resulted in higher grade achievement and retention for females (but both males and females used support services and peer advising at higher rates), compared to groups of students who participated in either (a) or (b) but not both. A report by the Educational Policy Institute2 lists financial aid as one critical factor that affects the decision to pursue a college degree and success in degree attainment for minorities. This paper reports the progress of a persistence-to-graduation scholarship program funded under the National Science Foundation Scholarships (NSF) in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program. We named our program YES (Young Entrepreneur and Scholar) scholarship program.
The goal of YES is to enable academically talented, financially needy students to enter the workforce (Entrepreneurship Path) or to pursue a graduate degree (Research Path) following the completion of a baccalaureate degree in a targeted STEM discipline. This goal is facilitated through scholarships offered by the program to qualified student participants in the last two college years (maturing years – juniors and seniors), a mentorship program (faculty and industry mentors), and enhanced educational opportunities (Distinguished Speaker seminar series, Symposium, learning community). The program continues the efforts of and recruits from another NSF-funded program, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion (STEP) program, which focuses on the first two student college years (early years— freshman and sophomore) and has been successful in retaining STEM students at significantly higher rates than academically similar STEM students at the university. YES, in its first year of operation, has succeeded in attracting significantly higher percentages of females (46%) and under-represented minorities (69%) than the STEM population at the University of Central Florida (UCF); 54% are first in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree; and 54% are in the Research Path and 46% in the Entrepreneurship Path. This paper will focus on the details of the program infrastructure, recruiting strategies that we have pursued, assessment instruments that we have developed to evaluate the program’s accomplishments, and student experiences in the program to date.
The University of Central Florida is the largest university in the state and the third largest in the nation in terms of student enrollment3 (over 53,000 students in Fall 2009). An incoming student can easily be overwhelmed and get lost in the crowd. In 2006, the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (in the College of Engineering & Computer Science) and the Math Department (in the College of Sciences) received five-year funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEP) program which we call EXCEL. EXCEL was designed to increase student success in the first
Massi, L., & Georgiopoulos, M., & Young, C., & Ducharme, A., & Ford, C., & Small, K., & Lancey, P., & Bhati, D. (2010, June), Yes: A Nsf S Stem Scholarship Program Experience At The University Of Central Florida Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15810
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