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Title: Current Perceptions And Attitudes of Research And Engineering of Mechanical Engineering (ME) S-STEM Scholars And Regular ME Students
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Biomedical engineering
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract The objectives of this study were to evaluate the current status of exposure to bio-engineering research in community college (CC) students and University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) students, and to estimate relationships between research activities sponsored by the Mechanical Engineering (ME) S-STEM Scholarship Program and improvement in student enrollment/diversification, retention rates, and graduation rates. The analysis drew on data from ME undergraduate academic records at UMBC from 2008 to 2019. A survey was designed to assess the research exposure of CC and UMBC students and their evaluation of the research components included in recruitment and curriculum activities. Results show that exposure to research measured by attending a research seminar was low for the participants, around 37% for CC students and 21% for ME students at UMBC. The survey results indicate the positive impact of the scholarship programs at UMBC on the research exposure and research experience. The impact is more evident in students who originally transferred from a CC. The large increase in recruited female and CC students over the past 10 years indicated that the research-related activities of the ME S-STEM program played an instrumental role in those increases. Because of the research-related activities, the ME S-STEM programmore »achieved retention and graduation rates higher than those in the ME undergraduate program (89% versus 60% for the 6 year graduation rate), as well a higher percentage of students enrolled in graduate school (30% versus 10%). We conclude that there is still a need to implement research-related activities in the ME undergraduate program, starting with student recruitment and continuing through the academic program. Results suggest that there is a positive impact of ME S-STEM research activities on student diversification, retention rates, and percentage of our graduates who are pursuing graduate degree.« less
  2. Starting in 2010, the ME department at UMBC has been awarded three NSF S-STEM grants to increase student diversity, improve retention, and provide successful paths toward job placement and graduate study in our department. In addition to scholarships and faculty mentoring, we implemented approaches to integrate research into various aspects of our curriculum, including visiting community colleges, giving research seminars to community college students and UMBC students, organizing lab visits for undergraduate students, and providing undergraduate research opportunities. In this study, we asked students to complete a survey after specific research related educational activities. Data analyses were conducted to evaluate whether the perceived experiences from exposure to research differed by ethnic group, family educational background, whether they are community college transfers, and whether the students are part of a scholarship program. The survey results were also used to measure the satisfaction of the participants from the research related activities, and to collect feedback for future improvements.