skip to main content

Title: Enhancing the Success of Minority STEM Students by Providing Financial, Academic, Social, and Cultural Capital
Research has shown that student achievement is influenced by their access to, or possession of, various forms of capital. These forms of capital include financial capital, academic capital (prior academic preparation and access to academic support services), cultural capital (the attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors related to education which students are exposed to by members of their family or community), and social capital (the resources students have access to as a result of being members of groups or networks). For community college students, many with high financial need and the first in their families to go to college (especially those from underrepresented minority groups), developing programs to increase access to these various forms of capital is critical to their success. This paper describes how a small federally designated Hispanic-serving community college has developed a scholarship program for financially needy community college students intending to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. Developed through a National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) grant, the program involves a collaboration among STEM faculty, college staff, administrators, student organizations, and partners in industry, four-year institutions, local high schools, and professional organizations. In addition to more » providing financial support through the scholarships, student access to academic capital is increased through an intensive math review program, tutoring, study groups, supplemental instruction, and research internship opportunities. Access to cultural and social capital is increased by providing scholars with faculty mentors; engaging students with STEM faculty, university researchers, and industry professionals through field trips, summer internships, professional organizations, and student clubs; supporting student and faculty participation at professional conferences, and providing opportunities for students and their families to interact with faculty and staff. The paper details the development of the program, and its impact over the last five years on enhancing the success of STEM students as determined from data on student participation in various program activities, student attitudinal and self-efficacy surveys, and academic performance including persistence, retention, transfer and graduation. « less
Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
0849660
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10026376
Journal Name:
ASEE annual conference & exposition
Volume:
2014
ISSN:
2153-5965
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Although many California Community College students from underrepresented groups enter college with high levels of interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the majority of them drop out or change majors even before taking transfer-level courses due to a variety of reasons including financial difficulties, inadequate academic preparation, lack of family support, poor study skills, and inadequate or ineffective academic advising and mentoring. In 2009, Cañada College, a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution in the San Francisco Bay Area, received a National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) grant to develop a scholarship program for financially needy community college students intending to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. In collaboration with the College’s Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program – an academic, personal, and professional support structure has been designed and implemented to maximize the likelihood of success of these students. This support structure aims to create a learning community among the scholars through a combination of academic counseling and mentoring, personal enrichment and professional development opportunities, and strong academic support services. This paper describes how faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, student organizations, and partners in industry, four-yearmore »institutions, and professional organizations can be involved in creating an academic infrastructure that promotes academic excellence, leadership skills, and personal and professional growth among the diversity of financially needy STEM students in a community college.« less
  2. POSTER. Presented at the Symposium (9/12/2019) Abstract: The Academy of Engineering Success (AcES) employs literature-based, best practices to support and retain underrepresented students in engineering through graduation with the ultimate goal of diversifying the engineering workforce. AcES was established in 2012 and has been supported via NSF S-STEM award number 1644119 since 2016. The 2016, 2017, and 2018 cohorts consist of 12, 20, and 22 students, respectively. Five S-STEM supported scholarships were awarded to the 2016 cohort, seven scholarships were awarded to students from the 2017 cohort, and six scholarships were awarded to students from the 2018 cohort. AcES students participate in a one-week summer bridge experience, a common fall semester course focused on professional development, and a common spring semester course emphasizing the role of engineers in societal development. Starting with the summer bridge experience, and continuing until graduation, students are immersed in curricular and co-curricular activities with the goals of fostering feelings of institutional inclusion and belonging in engineering, providing academic support and student success skills, and professional development. The aforementioned goals are achieved by providing (1) opportunities for faculty-student, student-student, and industry mentor-student interaction, (2) academic support, and student success education in areas such as time managementmore »and study skills, and (3) facilitated career and major exploration. Four research questions are being examined, (1) What is the relationship between participation in the AcES program and participants’ academic success?, (2) What aspects of the AcES program most significantly impact participants’ success in engineering, (3) How do AcES students seek to overcome challenges in studying engineering, and (4) What is the longitudinal impact of the AcES program in terms of motivation, perceptions, feelings of inclusion, outcome expectations of the participants and retention? Students enrolled in the AcES program participate in the GRIT, LAESE, and MSLQ surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews at the start and end of each fall semester and at the end of the spring semester. The surveys provide a measure of students’ GRIT, general self-efficacy, engineering self-efficacy, test anxiety, math outcome efficacy, intrinsic value of learning, inclusion, career expectations, and coping efficacy. Focus group and interview responses are analyzed in order to answer research questions 2, 3, and 4. Survey responses are analyzed to answer research question 4, and institutional data such as GPA is used to answer research question 1. An analysis of the 2017 AcES cohort survey responses produced a surprising result. When the responses of AcES students who retained were compared to the responses of AcES students who left engineering, those who left engineering had higher baseline values of GRIT, career expectations, engineering self-efficacy, and math outcome efficacy than those students who retained. A preliminary analysis of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 focus group and one-on-one interview responses indicates that the Engineering Learning Center, tutors, organized out of class experiences, first-year seminar, the AcES cohort, the AcES summer bridge, the AcES program, AcES Faculty/Staff, AcES guest lecturers, and FEP faculty/Staff are viewed as valuable by students and cited with contributing to their success in engineering. It is also evident that AcES students seek help from peers, seek help from tutors, use online resources, and attend office hours to overcome their challenges in studying engineering.« less
  3. The STEM Excellence through Engagement in Collaboration, Research, and Scholarship (SEECRS) project at Whatcom Community College is a five-year program aiming to support academically talented students with demonstrated financial need in biology, chemistry, geology, computer science, engineering, and physics. This project is funded by an NSF S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) grant awarded in January 2017. Through an inclusive and long-range effort, the college identified a strong need for financial and comprehensive supports for STEM students. This project will offer financial, academic, and professional support to three two-year cohorts of students. The SEECRS project aims to utilize a STEM-specific guided pathways approach to strengthen recruitment, retention, and matriculation of STEM students at the community college level. Scholarship recipients will be supported through participation in the SEECRS Scholars Academy, a multi-pronged approach to student support combining elements of community building, faculty mentorship, targeted advising activities, authentic science practice, and social activities. Students are introduced to disciplines of interest through opportunities to engage in course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) in Biology, Chemistry and Engineering courses, funded summer research opportunities, and seminars presented by STEM professionals. Communities of practice will be nurtured through the introduction of cohort building and facultymore »mentorship. Cohort development starts with a required two-credit course for all scholars that emphasizes STEM identity development, specifically focusing on identifying and coping with the ways non-dominant individuals (racial/ethnic minorities, non-male gender, lower socioeconomic status, first-generation, 2-year community college vs. 4-year institutions) are made to feel as outsiders in STEM. Each SEECRS scholar is paired with a faculty mentor who engages in ongoing mentor training. The project evaluation will determine the efficacy of the project activities in achieving their intended outcomes. Specifically, we will collect data to answer the research question: To what extent can a guided pathways approach provide a coordinated and supported STEM experience at Whatcom Community College that: (1) increases student success, and (2) positively shifts students’ STEM self-identity? The evaluation will employ a quasi-experimental research design, specifically a pretest-posttest design with a matched comparison group. Our first cohort of 14 students was selected over two application rounds (winter and summer 2017). We awarded ten full scholarships and four half-scholarships based on financial need data. Cohort demographics of note compared to institutional percentages are: females (64% vs. 57%), Hispanic (14% vs. 17%), African American (7% vs. 2%), white (79% vs. 66%), first generation college bound (43% vs. 37%). The cohort is comprised of six students interested in engineering, six in biology, and one each in geology and environmental sciences. With increased communication between the project team, our Financial Aid office, Entry and Advising, high school outreach, and the Title III grant-funded Achieve, Inspire, Motivate (AIM) Program, as well as a longer advertising time, we anticipate significantly enhancing our applicant pool for the next cohort. The results and lessons learned from our first year of implementation will be presented.« less
  4. Background & Program Description: The link between student engagement and retention is well-established in the education literature. As a result, many colleges have developed first-year experience programs to engage students in early technical work and to promote community-building. However, many of these student success programs require participation in extracurricular activities, which require time outside of class. Yet time for extracurricular activities is a luxury that many students of low socioeconomic status (SES) cannot afford due to family or work obligations. The Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) program, funded by the National Science Foundation, provides crucial financial support to high-achieving low-SES STEM students. The S-STEM scholarships give students the option to work less or not at all. The intended result is that students regain the time afforded to their more privileged peers, thereby also giving them the opportunity to more effectively engage with their institution, studies, and peers. The Endeavour Program is a two-year program that incorporates the S-STEM financial support into a multi-faceted and multi-college program in STEM designed to increase the level of student engagement in school. The scholars, who are recruited from three colleges, take classes together, work on hands-on team projects, attend professional and personal development events, participatemore »in outreach events, and conduct research with faculty mentors. Over the course of the two-year program, four dimensions of student engagement (academic, behavioral, cognitive, and affective) are tracked to determine the appropriateness of using these engagement levels as predictors of success. Results: Two cohorts of 20 students were recruited in the fall of 2017 and in the fall of 2018. The first cohort completed the two-year program in the spring of 2020, and the second cohort began the second year of the program in the fall of 2020. No third cohort was recruited in 2020 due the Covid19 pandemic. The third and fourth cohorts will now enter the program in the fall of 2021 and the fall of 2022 respectively. Overall, the results of the Endeavour Program have been positive. The final retention outcome for the first cohort (the only cohort to complete the program thus far) was 85% (17/20). Retention for the second cohort is currently at 100% (20/20). Initial results show that the S-STEM scholars are performing academically as well as their peers who do not share the same risk factors. In addition, the number of completed hours is also on par with their peers. However, the most significant gains were observed in the qualitative data. Students expressed fears and anxieties about the high school to college transition and reported that the guidance provided and the community formed through the Endeavour Program alleviated many of those negative emotions. The full paper shows student engagement data obtained over time for the first and second cohorts as well as lessons learned and directions for future work. Also, examples of advising charts created in an engagement data dashboard show how the quantitative engagement data has been compiled and organized to show early warning signs for current and future cohorts.« less
  5. This paper provides detailed information for a poster that will be presented in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grantees Poster Session during the 2020 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. The poster describes the progress and the state of an NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S-STEM) project. The objectives of this project are to 1) enhance student learning by providing access to extra- and co-curricular experiences, 2) create a positive student experience through mentorship, and 3) ensure successful student placement in the STEM workforce or graduate school. S-STEM Scholars supported by this program receive financial, academic, professional, and social development via various evidence-based activities integrated throughout their four-year undergraduate degrees beginning during the summer prior to starting at the University. The paper describes the characteristics (demographics, high school GPA, ACT/SAT scores, etc.) of the Scholars supported by the S-STEM grant. The paper also provides information about the completed tasks of the project to date. The completed tasks include a system for recruiting academically talented and economically disadvantaged students, a Summer Bridge Program (SBP), a first semester introductory engineering course, and a system to recruit and maintain faculty mentors. The ongoing tasks include the execution of a service learningmore »project course and a system for recruiting industry mentors. This paper reports detailed assessment and evaluation data about different project tasks and the academic success metrics of the Scholars. It also lists a set of recommendations based on the lessons learned in this S-STEM project.« less