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  1. The Academy of Engineering Success (AcES) program, established in 2012 and supported by NSF S-STEM award number 1644119 throughout 2016-2021, employs literature-based, best practices to support and retain underprepared and underrepresented students in engineering through graduation with the ultimate goal of diversifying the engineering workforce. A total of 71 students, including 21 students supported by S-STEM scholarships, participated in the AcES program between 2016-2019 at a large R1 institution in the mid-Atlantic region. All AcES students participate in a common program during their first year, comprised of: a one-week summer bridge experience, a common fall professional development course and spring “Engineering in History” course, and a common academic advisor. These students also have opportunities for: (1) faculty-student, student-student, and industry mentor-student interaction, (2) academic support and student success education, and (3) major and career exploration – all designed to help students develop feelings of institutional inclusion, engineering self-efficacy and identity, and academic and professional success skills. They also participate in the GRIT, Longitudinal Assessment of Engineering Self-Efficacy (LAESE), and the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) surveys plus individual and focus group interviews at the start, midpoint, and end of each fall semester and at the end of the springmore »semester. The surveys provide a measure of students’ GRIT, their beliefs related to the intrinsic value of engineering and learning, their feelings of inclusion and test anxiety, and their self-efficacy related to engineering, math, and coping skills. The interviews provide information related to the student experience, feelings of inclusion, and program impact. Institutional data, combined with the survey and interview responses, are used to examine four research questions designed to examine the relationship of the elements of the AcES program to participants’ academic success and retention in engineering. Early analyses of the student retention data and survey responses from the 2017 and 2018 cohorts indicated students who ultimately left engineering before the start of their second year initially scored higher in areas of engineering self-efficacy and test anxiety, than those who stayed in engineering, while those who retained to the second year began their engineering education with lower self-efficacy scores, but higher scores related to the belief in the intrinsic value of engineering, learning strategy use, and coping self-efficacy. These results suggest that students who start with unrealistically high expectations of their performance leave engineering at higher rates than students who start with lower personal performance expectations, but have stronger value of the field and strategies for meeting challenges. These data appear to support the Kruger-Dunning effect in which students with limited knowledge of a specific field overestimate their abilities to perform in that area or underestimate the level of effort success may require. This paper will add an analysis of the academic success and retention data from 2019 cohort to this research, discuss the impact of COVID-19 to this program and research, as well as illuminate the quantitative results with the qualitative data from individual and focus group interviews regarding the aspects of the AcES program that impact student success, their expectations and methods for overcoming academic challenges, and their feelings of motivation and inclusion.« less
  2. The Academy of Engineering Success (AcES) program employs known best practices to support engineering students with the goal of retaining them through graduation and diversifying the engineering workforce. The AcES program started in 2012 and has been supported by NSF SSTEM award number DUE-1644119 since 2016. Cohorts from 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 consist of 12, 20, 22, and 17 students, respectively. Twenty-one renewable S-STEM supported scholarships have been awarded to students since 2016. AcES students participate in a one-week pre-fall bridge experience, a common fall professional development course, and a course emphasizing the role of engineers in societal development in the spring semester. Starting in the bridge experience and continuing until graduation, students participate in curricular and co-curricular activities with the goals of: (1) fostering feelings of belonging in engineering and institutional inclusion, (2) encouraging professional development, and (3) supporting academic achievement and student success. These goals are achieved by providing: (1) opportunities for interaction between students and peers, faculty, and industry mentors; (2) major and career exploration opportunities; and (3) academic support and student success education in areas such as time management and study skills. AcES students participate in the GRIT, LAESE, and MSLQ surveys, as well asmore »in 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 quantitative 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. Qualitative data from the focus group and individual interview responses are used to provide insight into the quantitative survey results. Surprisingly, a previous analysis of the 2017 cohort survey responses revealed that students who left engineering had higher baseline values of GRIT, career expectations, engineering self-efficacy, and math outcome efficacy than those students who retained. Hence, the 2018 cohort survey responses were analyzed in relation to retention and are presented along with qualitative results to provide a holistic understanding of student retention. Results from both the 2017 and 2018 cohorts are presented and discussed in the paper and poster.« less
  3. This complete research paper examines the connection between student beliefs about engineering as a profession, as well as the perceptions of their family and friends, to their reported self-efficacy, career expectations, and grittiness. The student responses examined were obtained from non-calculus ready engineering students at a large land grant institution in the Mid-Atlantic region. The students participated in a well-established program focused on cohort formation, mentorship, professional skill development, and fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging in engineering. The program, consisting of a one-week pre-fall bridge experience and two common courses, was founded in 2012 and has been operating with National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM funding since 2016. Students who received S-STEM funded scholarships are required to participate in focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and complete LAESE, MSLQ, and GRIT questionnaires each semester. The researchers applied qualitative coding methods to evaluate student responses from focus groups and one-one-one interviews which were conducted from 2017 to 2019. Questions examined in this paper include: 1) How would you describe an engineer? 2) Please describe what you think an engineer does on a daily basis. 3) What do you think your friends/family think of engineering? 4) What skills or characteristics do you thinkmore »good engineers have? 5) What types of careers do you believe are filled by degree holding engineers? Student responses on the aforementioned questions were related to the self-efficacy, career expectation, and grit values obtained from the LAESE, MSLQ, and GRIT instruments. The nature of this longitudinal study allows the evolution of student responses to also be examined as they matriculate through their education. Additional analysis was performed to identify themes and numerical trends associated with student populations such as, underrepresented minorities, females, and first-generation college students. Results of this research are presented in an effort to further highlight the importance of exposure to STEM fields during an individual’s K-12 education, and express how student perceptions, self-efficacy, GRIT, and career expectations evolve over their undergraduate education.« less
  4. The Academy of Engineering Success (AcES), supported by an NSF S-STEM grant since 2016, employs literature-based, best practices to support and retain students in engineering. AcES students participate in a one-week summer bridge experience; a common fall semester course focused on professional development, time management and study skills, and career exploration; and a common spring semester course emphasizing the role of engineers in societal development. Students are also immersed in 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. AcES students participate in the GRIT, LAESE, and MSLQ surveys at the start and end of each fall semester and at the end of the spring semester each year. Focus group data is collected at the beginning, middle and end of each semester and one-on-one interviews occur at the start and end of each 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. A previous study, based on an analysis of the 2017 AcES cohort survey responses, produced a surprising result. When the responses of AcESmore »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. These results appear to support the Kruger-Dunning effect. This paper presents the subsequent analysis of two years of participant data, the 2017 and 2018 cohorts, to further explore the possibility or the strength of this effect for these students and investigates possible reasons for the results.« less