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  1. At San Francisco State University, a Hispanic Serving Institute and a Primarily Undergraduate Institution, 67% of engineering students are from ethnic minority groups, with only 27% of Hispanic students retained and graduated in their senior year. Additionally, only 14% of students reported full-time employment secured at the time of graduation. Of these secured jobs, only 54% were full-time positions (40+ hours a week). To improve the situation, San Francisco State University, in collaboration with two local community colleges, Skyline and Cañada Colleges, was recently funded by the National Science Foundation through a Hispanic Serving Institute Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Strengthening Student Motivation and Resilience through Research and Advising program to enhance undergraduate engineering education and build capacity for student success. This project will use a data-driven and evidence-based approach to identify the barriers to the success of underrepresented minority students and to generate new knowledge on the best practices for increasing students’ retention and graduation rates, self- efficacy, professional development, and workforce preparedness. Three objectives underpin this overall goal. The first is to develop and implement a Summer Research Internship Program together with community college partners. The second is to establish an HSI Engineering Success Center to provide students with academic resources, networking opportunities with industry, and career development tools. The third is to develop resources for the professional development of faculty members, including Summer Faculty Teaching Workshops, an Inclusive Teaching and Mentoring Seminar Series, and an Engineering Faculty Learning Community. Qualitative and quantitative approaches are used to assess the project outcomes using a survey instrument and interview protocols developed by an external evaluator. This paper discusses an overview of the project and its first-year implementation. The focus is placed on the introduction and implementation of the several main project components, namely the Engineering Success Center, Summer Research Internship Program, and Faculty Summer Teaching Workshop. The preliminary evaluation results, demonstrating the great success of these strategies, are also discussed. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  2. Smart Structures Technologies (SST) is receiving considerable attention as the demands for high performance in structural systems increase. Although both the academic and professional engineering worlds are seeking ways to utilize SST, there is a significant gap between engineering science and engineering practice. To bridge the gap and facilitate the research infusion, San Francisco State University (SFSU) and the University of South Carolina (UofSC) collaborated with industry partners to establish a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site program, which provides undergraduate students a unique opportunity to experience research in both academic and professional settings through cooperative research projects. The objectives of the program were to: 1) provide participants a unique and exciting summer research experience in both academic and industrial environments; 2) prepare students to become the catalysts to help close the gap between engineering science (academia) and engineering practice (industry); and 3) motivate the participants, especially those from underrepresented minority groups (URMs), not only to complete their undergraduate degrees but also to pursue advanced degrees and/or careers in engineering. 
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  4. With increasing demands for high performance in structural systems, Smart Structures Technologies (SST) is receiving considerable attention as it has the potential to transform many fields in engineering, including civil, mechanical, aerospace, and geotechnical engineering. Both the academic and industrial worlds are seeking ways to utilize SST, however, there is a significant gap between the engineering science in academia and engineering practice in the industry. To respond to this challenge, San Francisco State University and the University of South Carolina collaborated with industrial partners to establish a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site program, focusing on academia-industry collaborations in SST. This REU program intends to train undergraduate students to serve as the catalysts to facilitate the research infusion between academic and industrial partners. This student-driven joint venture between academia and industry is expected to establish a virtuous circle for knowledge exchange and contribute to advancing fundamental research and implementation of SST. The program features: formal training, workshops, and supplemental activities in the conduct of research in academia and industry; innovative research experience through engagement in projects with scientific and practical merits in both academic and industrial environments; experience in conducting laboratory experiments; and opportunities to present the research outcomes to the broader community at professional settings. This REU program provides engineering undergraduate students with unique research experience in both academic and industrial settings through cooperative research projects. Experiencing research in both worlds is expected to help students transition from a relatively dependent status to an independent status as their competence level increases. The joint efforts among two institutions and industry partners provide the project team with extensive access to valuable resources, such as expertise to offer a wider-range of informative training workshops, advanced equipment, valuable data sets, experienced undergraduate mentors, and professional connections, that would facilitate a meaningful REU experience. Recruitment of participants targeted 20 collaborating minority and primarily undergraduate institutions (15 of them are Hispanic-Serving Institutions, HSI) with limited science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) research capabilities. The model developed through this program may help to exemplify the establishment of a sustainable collaboration model between academia and industry that helps address the nation's need for mature, independent, informed, and globally competitive STEM professionals and could be adapted to other disciplines. In this paper, the details of the first-year program will be described. The challenges and lesson-learned on the collaboration between the two participating universities, communications with industrial partners, recruitment of the students, set up of the evaluation plans, and development and implementation of the program will be discussed. The preliminary evaluation results and recommendations will also be shared. 
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  5. In this study, two universities created and implemented a student-centered graduate student instructor observation protocol (GSIOP) and a post-observational Red-Yellow-Green feedback structure (RYG feedback). The GSIOP and RYG feedback was used with novice graduate student instructors (GSIs) by experienced GSIs through a peer-mentorship program. Ten trained mentor GSIs completed 50 sets of three observations of novice GSIs. Analyzing 151 GSIOPs and 151 RYG feedback meetings longitudinally provided insight to identify what types of feedback informed and influenced GSIOP scores. After qualitatively coding feedback along multiple dimensions, we found certain forms of feedback were more influential for GSI development than others with respect to change in GSIOP score. Our results indicate contextually-specific feedback leads to more observed changes and improvement across multiple observations than decontextualized feedback. 
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