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  1. In January 2020, an S-STEM grant (Grant #1930497) was awarded to East Carolina University (Greenville, NC) in partnership with three local community colleges. The community college partners were selected to participate in this program based upon their geographic proximity to the university and their offering an Associate’s in Engineering degree program. The purpose of this program was to support low-income students through scholarships and programming designed to help the community college students feel welcomed and part of the engineering program at the university before they transfer to the university. The project intended to recruit 80 total scholars in two cohorts of 40. Each cohort was to be comprised of 20 university students and 20 community college students. In-person recruiting events were planned in the service areas of each of the community colleges and in a 10-county region surrounding the university. The original plan for programming was to offer special events and speakers on each campus throughout the academic year so that all of the scholars could meet each other and learn more about the engineering profession. When events were held on the university campus, the goal was to showcase the laboratories and programs available once students complete their associate’s degreemore »and transfer and for them to begin developing relationships with the engineering faculty at the university. When events were held on the community college campuses, the goal was for the university students to learn more about the engineering programs at each of the community colleges and to develop relationships with the community college students. The global pandemic required significant pivoting from the original plan for activities and recruitment of students. This paper outlines the recruitment and retention of S-STEM scholars at the three partnering community colleges. In particular, this paper will discuss the three very different approaches each community college took to offering classes and activities on campus during the Covid-19 pandemic and how that impacted course offerings and program implementation. This works in progress paper outlines the activities done to this point in the project and the plans for future years.« less
  2. In January 2020 East Carolina University (ECU) in partnership with Lenoir Community College (LCC), Pitt Community College (PCC), and Wayne Community College (WCC) was awarded an S-STEM Track 3 Grant (Grant number: 1930497). The purpose of this grant was to support low-income students at each partner institution, to research best practices in recruiting and retaining low-income students at both universities and community colleges, and to research how such programs influence the transfer outcomes from two-year to four-year schools. This grant provides scholarship support for two cohorts of students, one starting their engineering studies in Fall 2020 and the other starting their engineering studies in Fall 2021. Each cohort was to be comprised of 40 students including 20 students at ECU and 20 students divided among the three partnering community colleges. In addition to supporting student scholarships, this grant supported the establishment of new student support mechanisms and enhancement of existing support systems on each campus. This project involved the creation of a faculty mentoring program, designing a summer bridge program, establishing a textbook lending library, and enhancing activities for students in a living-learning community, expansion of university tutoring initiatives to allow access for community college students, and promoting a newmore »peer mentoring initiative. The program emphasizes career opportunities including promoting on-campus career fairs, promoting internship and co-op opportunities, and bringing in guest speakers from various industry partners. A goal of the program was to allow community college students to build relationships with university students and faculty so they can more easily assimilate into the student body at the university upon transfer. This paper presents the challenges presented to the project in the first year and the pivoting that occurred due the pandemic. Data is presented regarding recruitment of scholars in both cohorts and retention of scholars from year 1 to year 2.« less
  3. This study investigated the influence of immersive classroom simulation activities on the development of elementary pre-service teachers in two separate mathematics and science education courses that simultaneously focus on pedagogy and content. Participants submitted written personal reflections about their teaching experiences using the immersive classroom simulation activities. These reflections were analyzed for common emergent themes within and across courses. The participants discussed the benefits of the immersive classroom simulation activities in their written personal reflections. They viewed the experience as helpful in developing their skills as a practicing teacher in mathematics and science. Specifically, participants identified three sub-themes including: (a) the immersive classroom simulation activities as being beneficial by providing more authentic real-life teaching experiences than those experienced during peer-group teaching activities; (b) the importance of holding complete and appropriate understandings of content when teaching mathematics and science; and (c) the role of deep content knowledge in the process of developing high quality questions for students. This study has shown immersive classroom simulation activities to be a viable alternative for teacher education programs to engage elementary pre- service teachers in developing skills regarding classroom mathematics and science discourse.