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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. Greenhouse gases trap heat within our atmosphere, leading to an unnatural increase in temperature. Carbon dioxide and its equivalent emissions have been a large focus when considering sustainability in the civil engineering field, with a reduction of global warming potential being a top priority. According to a 2017 report by the World Green Building Council, the construction and usage of buildings account for 39 percent of human carbon emissions in the United States, almost one third of which are from the extraction, manufacturing, and transportation of materials. Substituting wood for high emission materials could greatly reduce carbon if harvested and disposed of in a controlled way. To investigate this important issue, San Francisco State University and University of South Carolina partnered with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, a world leader in designing high-rise buildings, through a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site program, to investigate and quantify the embodied carbons of various slab system designs using a high-rise residential complex in San Francisco as a case study. Three concept designs were considered: a concrete building with cementitious replacement, a concrete building without cementitious replacement, and a concrete building with cementitious replacement and nail-laminated timber wood inlays inserted into various areas of the superstructure slabs. The composite structural slab system has the potential to surpass the limitations of wood-framed structures yet incorporate the carbon sequestration that makes wood a more sustainable material. The results show that wood substitution could decrease overall emissions from the aforementioned designs and reduce the environmental footprint of the construction industry. 
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  3. Broadening participation in engineering among underrepresented minority students remains a big challenge for institutions of higher education. Since a large majority of underrepresented students attend community colleges, engineering transfer programs at these community colleges can play an important role in addressing this challenge. However, for most community college engineering programs, developing strategies and programs to increase the number and diversity of students successfully pursuing careers in engineering is especially challenging due to limited expertise, shrinking resources, and continuing budget crises. This paper is a description of how a small engineering transfer program at a Hispanic-Serving community college in California developed effective partnerships with high schools, other institutions of higher education, and industry partners in order to create opportunities for underrepresented community college students to excel in engineering. Developed through these partnerships are programs for high school students, current community college students, and community college engineering faculty. Programs for high school students include a) the Summer Engineering Institute – a two-week residential summer camp for sophomore and junior high school students, and b) the STEM Institute – a three-week program for high school freshmen to explore STEM fields. Academic and support programs for college students include: a) Math Jam – a one-week intensive math placement test review and preparation program; b) a scholarship and mentoring program academically talented and financially needy STEM students; c) a two-week introduction to research program held during the winter break to prepare students for research internships; d) a ten-week summer research internship program; e) Physics Jam – an intensive program to prepare students for success in Physics; f) Embedded Peer Instruction Cohort – a modified Supplemental Instruction program for STEM courses; g) STEM Speaker Series – a weekly presentation by professionals talking about their career and educational paths. Programs for community college STEM faculty and transfer programs include: a) Summer Engineering Teaching Institute – a two-day teaching workshop for community college STEM faculty; b) Joint Engineering Program – a consortium of 28 community college engineering programs all over California to align curriculum, improve teaching effectiveness, improve the engineering transfer process, and strengthen community college engineering transfer programs; c) Creating Alternative Learning Strategies for Transfer Engineering Programs – a collaborative program that aims to increase access to engineering courses for community college students through online instruction and alternative classroom models; and d) California Lower-Division Engineering Articulation Workshop – to align the engineering curriculum. In addition to describing the development and implementation of these programs, the paper will also provide details on how they have contributed to increasing the interest, facilitating the entry, improving the retention and enhancing the success of underrepresented minority students in engineering, as well as contributing to the strengthening of the community college engineering education pipeline. 
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