This paper details the development and implementation process of NSF STEM Scholarship program at a College in the Northeastern Region of the United States to increase student enrollment and achievement in engineering and engineering technology programs. The development and implementation process of this program is supported by the NSF-STEM fund as part of Division of Undergraduate Education (Award#11540000).
This NSF STEM Scholarship program is a five-year project that started in fall 2012. The Project titled “Increasing Student Enrollment and Achievement in Engineering and Engineering Technology” is focused on increasing enrollment and retention of talented students in STEM undergraduate education. The project included two cohorts; each cohort goes through four-year plan. In the first year, students are engaged in learning communities with well-defined projects in applied engineering such as robot building, truss design, flow imaging and aerodynamics. These hands-on projects are intended for students to make a connection of math and physics courses to engineering applications. In the second year, students (now sophomores) received tutoring training and worked directly with professors on courses where they excelled in their first year and help their fellow freshman. This intended to give students the chance to establish the highly needed linking between courses (statics and mechanics of materials or thermodynamics and fluid mechanics) in their 1st and 2nd year and further to enhance their hands-on, critical thinking, teamwork and communication capabilities.
The third and fourth year scholarship recipients were involved in activities that prepared them for the post-graduation (employment and graduate studies). These activities provided students with a unique opportunity to work with faculty members in a group research projects. All program participants have the chance to present their projects in the Vaughn’s Annual Technology Day Conference in April, and many of these projects submitted and accepted for the presentation and publication in regional, national, and international conferences (ASEE, ASME, SEM, and LACEEI).
Students in NSF STEM learning communities are encouraged to participate in Vaughn’s engineering seminar series, industry connection seminar series, industry field trips, robotics and UAV club activities and competitions, student chapter of professional societies, publication and presentation in technical conferences. These activities increased the number of students who completed undergraduate research projects under the mentorship of Vaughn faculty and were considered as one of the most effective tool to increase enrollment and retention. It also impacted other students outside the program. Active student clubs generate products that appeal to other students. This currently disseminated successfully at the engineering and technology department. The details and implementation process of STEM program and its assessment process will be presented and discussed during 2018 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings.
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