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Zip to Industry: A First-Year Corporate-STEM Connection Program

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Donald Visco The University of Akron


Nidaa Makki

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Nidaa Makki is a Professor in the LeBron James Family Foundation School of Education at the University of Akron, with expertise in STEM Education. She has served as co-PI on several NSF projects, investigating STEM education interventions at the K-12 and undergraduate levels. She also has expertise as program evaluator for various STEM education programs, and has led teacher professional development in Physics Modeling, Engineering Education, and Problem Based Learning. Her research interests include teacher learning and practices in science education, engineering education, and student learning and motivation for STEM.

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Erin Stevic


Joshua Phillips The University of Akron

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Joshua Phillips is a graduate student attending the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education
at The University of Akron. He received his B.S. in geology from The University of Akron. He is currently obtaining his master's degree in education.

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Elle Bonnema

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Deanna Dunn The University of Akron

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Laura Carey The University of Akron

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The purpose of this project was to investigate the influence of a job-shadowing program on first year students’ retention in STEM majors. Many students enter STEM majors with little knowledge about what a career in their fields entail and may be discouraged from persisting in those majors if they face obstacles in their first-year STEM classes. This NSF-funded IUSE project developed an intervention to address this issue by pairing first-year STEM students with a near-peer mentor currently enrolled in a co-operative education program and allowing them to job shadow the mentor at their place of employment. The goal of the job-shadowing was to allow first-year students to increase their knowledge about careers in STEM fields, and their self-efficacy to succeed in STEM majors. The program was implemented for three years, with three cohorts of first year students, with 136 total students participating across the three years.

Results of three years of implementation of this intervention will be discussed, as well as the lessons learned from shifting the intervention from face-to-face activities (touring the company, observing hands-on activities, participating in company events), to a virtual shadowing program during the covid-19 pandemic. Findings indicate that students who participated in the job shadowing program were retained at a higher rate than a comparison group with similar demographics and academic profile. Students found the program to be valuable to learn about STEM industries and reported that participating in job shadowing increased their interest in remaining in their majors.

Visco, D., & Makki, N., & Stevic, E., & Phillips, J., & Bonnema, E., & Dunn, D., & Carey, L. (2022, August), Zip to Industry: A First-Year Corporate-STEM Connection Program Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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