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  1. Educating Engineering Students Innovatively (EESI, pronounced "easy") is a student support program for sophomores to seniors enrolled in an engineering major offered at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. The program is designed to: (1) foster a sense of community, (2) improve students’ engineering skill sets, and (3) provide each student with their direct path of interest from college to the STEM workforce. Universities spend much effort to provide student support programs for first-year students, such as summer bridge programs. However, sometimes upper-level students are not offered the same level of support and can fall off the STEM pathway. Introducing experiential learning experiences centered on the safe space (or community) of students provides a model to address underrepresentation in the STEM workforce and graduate school. This case study of an experiential learning program will provide an option for universities to consider underrepresented minority upperclassmen retention methods. We will present data for students enrolled in an engineering major between 2018-2021, considering students' gender, first-generation, and financial status. This paper will report the results of four (4) different cohorts of EESI Scholars who completed at least one semester in the student support program. We compare the retention rates, persistence, and academic performance of EESI Scholars compared with students that did not participate in the student support program as one measure of the program's success. Then we provide the best practices of the experiential learning program that led to students' persistence at ***** University. This paper could assist other colleges that would like to ensure Black students, who have been historically underrepresented in STEM, persistence in their engineering programs. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 25, 2024