Suffolk University’s Electrical Engineering S-STEM Scholars program aims to give academically worthy high school graduates with financial need, from Boston public schools full scholarships to study electrical engineering at Suffolk. Currently the program is in year four, having started in January, 2014, and out of the nineteen students that have been admitted into the program, four have graduated, two have left the program, and the remaining are active students. The four graduates are all employed in the field of electrical engineering, with three working in the electric power industry, members of which partnered with Suffolk for this S-STEM program. This past summer, three current scholars had summer internships, with two in our partners’ electric power companies.
This program was challenged by unstable university leadership, with six presidents in six years, a public feud between a president and the board, and, most significantly for the program, a sudden decision to terminate the electrical engineering program by a dean and a president who had only been on the job for a few weeks. Yet, despite these challenges and with a program in teach-out mode, the S-STEM students have thrived, with all of the remaining students on target to graduate on, or nearly on time. Moreover, the electrical engineering program has found a new home at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, a school better suited for future S-STEM programs because of its commitment to keeping tuition low and to recruiting graduates of Boston public schools, most of whom require financial assistance.
This paper describes the unique features of the S-STEM program such as a one-time four-night stay at a field station in Northern Maine. It also describes outreach activities by the scholars such as annual participation in the Latino-STEM Alliance Robotics Competition and Science Fair, annual science and engineering experiments with Boston Public High Schools (BPHS), and the annual Power Engineering Day which brings together engineers and leaders from the electric power industry, Suffolk EE students, and BPHS students to learn about electric power and its career opportunities. This paper also includes descriptions of the scholars’ career building activities, study group participation, and weekly pizza events. Results of assessments of these activities as well as other activities that promote student success are described as well as the yearly assessments of the program by an outside evaluator.
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