Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session
Most students who start out in an engineering or STEM major in college do so with little understanding of what an engineer or STEM major actually does upon graduation. This is problematic, as some students will take their first math or science test in college, may not perform up to their expectations and conclude that “engineering or STEM is not for me”. Such a scenario results in both additional expense for students as well as a potential loss of students from these critical engineering and STEM fields. US employers often lament the inability to hire graduates with certain important technical skills and, thus, removing barriers that prevent students from moving through the STEM pipeline are crucial for the prosperity of the Nation in the future. Our project, called Zip to Industry: A First-Year Corporate-STEM Connection Program, attempts to address this problem by providing job shadowing opportunities for first-year STEM students during the fall and spring semesters. The students are paid for this exploration and shadow other university students who are on co-operative education/internship assignments or very recent graduates from the university at those companies. This program is funded through NSF IUSE.
The educational framework for the Zip to Industry program is Social Cognitive Career Theory, which proposes that a person’s goals and efforts towards realizing those goals (in this case, a STEM career), are impacted by their interest, self-efficacy, outcome expectations and prior learning experiences related to the goal. Job shadowing is conceived as a powerful learning experience that will impact knowledge and attitudes important for persistence toward a career goal. The Zip to Industry program is notable in that limited research exists on how job shadowing or similar programs impact student retention within STEM during the all-important first-year of college.
During the first year of the program, we provided 59 first-year STEM students with, on average, 3.5 job shadowing opportunities within the region. Preliminary findings show positive results, with students participating in the intervention retained in STEM majors (n=59) from year 1 to year 2 by 81% compared to a retention rate of 68% for a comparison group (n=111).
Visco, D. P., & Makki, N., & Subich, L. M., & Steer, D., & Stevic, E. R. (2020, June), Zip to Industry: A First-year Corporate-STEM Connection Program Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35717
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