Funded by a National Science Foundation S-STEM grant, the CLEAR Scholars in Engineering program provides financial support, mentoring, and leadership and career development to undergraduate students with demonstrated potential to succeed in engineering, but who face significant financial challenges, possibly in combination with other barriers to meeting their full potential, such as being a first-generation college student or a member of an underrepresented group. In addition to scholarship support, CLEAR Scholars are provided with an intentional set of activities that promotes student retention, achievement, and persistence to graduation through: (a) Community-building through a cohort model; (b) Leadership and career development; (c) Engagement with industry; (d) Advising through mentoring; and (e) Resources for academic success (hence the acronym CLEAR). The ultimate goal of this project is to produce engineering graduates with lower student loan indebtedness and greater preparation for post-degree roles. After five years, 13 out of 14 students who participated in the program so far successfully completed an engineering degree; and of those graduates, 12 out of 13 remain in a STEM field either in an industry or academic job or in a post-baccalaureate educational program. We have found that participants in the program have been significantly more likely than average to pursue an industrial or research internship as an undergraduate, contributing both to retention in their chosen fields and post-graduation success.
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