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Title: Bridging Success for STEM Students of Color: Factors that Predict Interactions with Institutional Agents at Community Colleges HSI and Non-HSI.
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Journal of applied research in the community college
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National Science Foundation
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  1. Despite national efforts in increasing representation of minority students in STEM disciplines, disparities prevail. Hispanics account for 17.4% of the U.S. population, and nearly 20% of the youth population (21 years and below) in the U.S. is Hispanic, yet they account for just 7% of the STEM workforce. To tackle these challenges, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has granted a 5-year project – ASSURE-US, that seeks to improve undergraduate education in Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) at California State University, Fullerton. The project seeks to advance student success during the first two years of college for ECS students. Towards thatmore »goal, the project incorporates a very diverse set of approaches, such as socio-cultural and academic interventions. Multiple strategies including developing early intervention strategies in gateway STEM courses, creating a nurturing faculty-student interaction and collaborative learning environment, providing relevant, contextual-based learning experiences, integrating project-based learning with engineering design in lower-division courses, exposing lower-division students to research to sustain student interests, and helping students develop career-readiness skills. The project also seeks to develop an understanding of the personal, social, cognitive, and contextual factors contributing to student persistence in STEM learning that can be used by STEM faculty to improve their pedagogical and student-interaction approaches. This paper summarizes the major approaches the ASSURE-US project plans to implement to reduce the achievement gap and motivate ECS students to remain in the program. Preliminary findings from the first-year implementation of the project including pre- and post- data were collected and analyzed from about one hundred freshmen and sophomore ECS students regarding their academic experience in lower-division classes and their feedback for various social support events held by the ASSURE-US project during the academic year 2018-19. The preliminary results obtained during the first year of ASSURE-US project suggests that among the different ASSURE-US activities implemented in the first year, both the informal faculty-student interactions and summer research experiences helped students commit more to their major during their lower-division years. The pre-post surveys also show improvements in terms of awareness among ASSURE-US students for obtaining academic support services, understanding career options and pathways, and obtaining personal counseling services.« less
  2. In summer 2020, faculty in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville developed and implemented a virtual Summer Bridge Program (SBP) as part of an NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) grant. Texas A&M University-Kingsville is a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). The primary objective of the SBP was to improve academic motivation, retention, and success of underclassmen and transfer students in the college by implementing a co-curricular summer program that included several high-impact enrichment activities. The aim of this work is to share the approach developed for this SBP to obtain feedback from other undergraduate engineering education experts. Many universitiesmore »have identified bridging programs for STEM students as a means of ensuring greater success and retention of freshman and sophomores majoring in STEM fields [1,2,3], and this was one impetus for the SBP.« less