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  1. Effects of High Impact Educational Practices on Engineering and Computer Science Student Participation, Persistence, and Success at Land Grant Universities: Award# RIEF-1927218 – Year 2 Abstract Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), this project aims to investigate and identify associations (if any) that exist between student participation in High Impact Educational Practices (HIP) and their educational outcomes in undergraduate engineering and computer science (E/CS) programs. To understand the effects of HIP participation among E/CS students from groups historically underrepresented and underserved in E/CS, this study takes place within the rural, public university context at two western land grant institutions (one of which is an Hispanic-serving institution). Conceptualizing diversity broadly, this study considers gender, race and ethnicity, and first-generation, transfer, and nontraditional student status to be facets of identity that contribute to the diversity of academic programs and the technical workforce. This sequential, explanatory, mixed-methods study is guided by the following research questions: 1. To what extent do E/CS students participate in HIP? 2. What relationships (if any) exist between E/CS student participation in HIP and their educational outcomes (i.e., persistence in major, academic performance, and graduation)? 3. How do contextual factors (e.g., institutional, programmatic, personal, social, financial, etc.) affectmore »E/CS student awareness of, interest in, and participation in HIP? During Project Year 1, a survey driven quantitative study was conducted. A survey informed by results of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) from each institution was developed and deployed. Survey respondents (N = 531) were students enrolled in undergraduate E/CS programs at either institution. Frequency distribution analyses were conducted to assess the respondents’ level of participation in extracurricular HIPs (i.e., global learning and study aboard, internships, learning communities, service and community-based learning, and undergraduate research) that have been shown in the literature to positively impact undergraduate student success. Further statistical analysis was conducted to understand the effects of HIP participation, coursework enjoyability, and confidence at completing a degree on the academic success of underrepresented and nontraditional E/CS students. Exploratory factor analysis was used to derive an "academic success" variable from five items that sought to measure how students persevere to attain academic goals. Results showed that a linear relationship in the target population exists and that the resultant multiple regression model is a good fit for the data. During the Project Year 2, survey results were used to develop focus group interview protocols and guide the purposive selection of focus group participants. Focus group interviews were conducted with a total of 27 undergraduates (12 males, 15 females, 16 engineering students, 11 computer science students) across both institutions via video conferencing (i.e., ZOOM) during the spring and fall 2021 semesters. Currently, verified focus group transcripts are being systematically analyzed and coded by a team of four trained coders to identify themes and answer the research questions. This paper will provide an overview of the preliminary themes so far identified. Future project activities during Project Year 3 will focus on refining themes identified during the focus group transcript analysis. Survey and focus group data will then be combined to develop deeper understandings of why and how E/CS students participate in the HIP at their university, taking into account the institutional and programmatic contexts at each institution. Ultimately, the project will develop and disseminate recommendations for improving diverse E/CS student awareness of, interest in, and participation in HIP, at similar land grant institutions nationally.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 23, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 23, 2023
  3. The science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce contributes to the U.S. economy by supporting 67% of jobs and 69% of the gross domestic product [1]. Currently, there is an increased demand for engineering and computer science (E/CS) professionals, particularly those from underrepresented (e.g., gender, racial, ethnic) and underserved (socio-economic, geographically isolated) groups who bring diversity of thought and experience to the national E/CS workforce [2]. Correspondingly, educational institutions are called upon to develop capabilities to attract, engage, and retain students from these diverse backgrounds in E/CS programs of study. To encourage and enable diverse students to opt into and persist within E/CS programs of study, there is a critical need to engage students in supportive and enriching opportunities from which to learn and grow. The importance of student engagement for promoting student growth and development has been researched to such an extent that its utility is widely agreed upon [5]. Importantly, it has been shown that both academic and extracurricular aspects of a student’s learning processes are characterized by engagement [6]. High Impact Educational Practices (HIP) provide useful opportunities for deep student engagement and, thus, positively influence student retention and persistence [4]. Kuh [3] identified eleven curricular and extracurricularmore »HIP (i.e., collaborative assignments and projects, common intellectual experiences, eportfolios, first year seminars and experiences, global learning and study abroad, internships, learning communities, senior culminating experiences, service and community-based learning, undergraduate research, and writing intensive courses). In computer science and engineering education fields, however, the extent to which HIP affects persistence and retention has not been fully investigated. This project aims to examine E/CS undergraduate student engagement in HIP and to understand the factors that contribute to positive engagement experiences.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 23, 2023
  4. Abstract Targeted protein degradation (TPD) is a promising approach in drug discovery for degrading proteins implicated in diseases. A key step in this process is the formation of a ternary complex where a heterobifunctional molecule induces proximity of an E3 ligase to a protein of interest (POI), thus facilitating ubiquitin transfer to the POI. In this work, we characterize 3 steps in the TPD process. (1) We simulate the ternary complex formation of SMARCA2 bromodomain and VHL E3 ligase by combining hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry with weighted ensemble molecular dynamics (MD). (2) We characterize the conformational heterogeneity of the ternary complex using Hamiltonian replica exchange simulations and small-angle X-ray scattering. (3) We assess the ubiquitination of the POI in the context of the full Cullin-RING Ligase, confirming experimental ubiquitinomics results. Differences in degradation efficiency can be explained by the proximity of lysine residues on the POI relative to ubiquitin.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  5. Over the years, researchers have found that student engagement facilitates desired academic success outcomes for college undergraduate students. Much research on student engagement has focused on academic tasks and classroom context. High impact engagement practices (HIEP) have been shown to be effective for undergraduate student academic success. However, less is known about the effects of HIEP specifically on engineering and computer science (E/CS) student outcomes. Given the high attrition rates for E/CS students, student involvement in HIEP could be effective in improving student outcomes for E/CS students, including those from various underrepresented groups. More generally, student participation in specific HIEP activities has been shown to shape their everyday experiences in school, both academically and socially. Hence, the primary goal of this study is to examine the factors that predict academic success in E/CS using multiple regression analysis. Specifically, this study seeks to understand the effects of high impact engagement practices (HIEP), coursework enjoyability, confidence at completing a degree on academic success of the underrepresented and nontraditional E/CS students. We used exploratory factor analyses to derive “academic success” variable from five items that sought to measure how students persevere to attain academic goals. A secondary goal of the present study ismore »to address the gap in research literature concerning how participation in HIEP affects student persistence and success in E/CS degree programs. Our research team developed and administered an online survey to investigate and identify factors that affect participation in HIEP among underrepresented and nontraditional E/CS students. Respondents (N = 531) were students enrolled in two land grant universities in the Western U.S. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine the proportion of the variation in the dependent variable (academic success) explained by the independent variables (i.e., high impact engagement practice (HIEP), coursework enjoyability, and confidence at completing a degree). We hypothesized that (1) high impact engagement practices will predict academic success; (2) coursework enjoyability will predict academic success; and (3) confidence at completing a degree will predict academic success. Results showed that the multiple regression model statistically predicted academic success , F(3, 270) = 33.064, p = .001, adjusted R2 = .27. This results indicate that there is a linear relationship in the population and the multiple regression model is a good fit for the data. Further, findings show that confidence at completing a degree is significantly predictive of academic success. In addition, coursework enjoyability is a strong predictor of academic success. Specifically, the result shows that an increase in high impact engagement activity is associated with an increase in students’ academic success. In sum, these findings suggest that student participation in High Impact Engagement Practices might improve academic success and course retention. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.« less
  6. A bstract A search is presented for a heavy W′ boson resonance decaying to a B or T vector-like quark and a t or a b quark, respectively. The analysis is performed using proton-proton collisions collected with the CMS detector at the LHC. The data correspond to an integrated luminosity of 138 fb − 1 at a center-of-mass energy of 13 TeV. Both decay channels result in a signature with a t quark, a Higgs or Z boson, and a b quark, each produced with a significant Lorentz boost. The all-hadronic decays of the Higgs or Z boson and of the t quark are selected using jet substructure techniques to reduce standard model backgrounds, resulting in a distinct three-jet W′ boson decay signature. No significant deviation in data with respect to the standard model background prediction is observed. Upper limits are set at 95% confidence level on the product of the W′ boson cross section and the final state branching fraction. A W′ boson with a mass below 3.1 TeV is excluded, given the benchmark model assumption of democratic branching fractions. In addition, limits are set based on generalizations of these assumptions. These are the most sensitive limits to datemore »for this final state.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
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