As industry demands for qualified science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workers continue to increase, supporting diverse groups of students towards success in STEM may help mitigate future shortfalls in the STEM workforce. Education benefits like the post 9/11 GI Bill may provide a viable pathway for increasing the STEM-qualified, engineering technician, engineering technologist, and engineer (ETETE) workforce through the nation’s veteran population. Supporting student veterans along ETETE pathways may involve three key tasks: 1) building early awareness of ETETE pathways; 2) ensuring academic recognition for prior military work experience; and 3) providing seamless support from government agencies, academic institutions, and industry. Student veterans follow non-traditional education pathways and bring with them a wealth of diverse life experiences. Correspondingly, the growing number of veterans pursuing STEM degrees, and the diversity of this underserved group of students continues to gain the attention of faculty, administrators, and national organizations. To bolster ASEE’s support for many diverse groups to include student veterans in ETETE pathways, the ASEE president commissioned a series of leadership roundtables during the 2018 ASEE National Conference and Exposition. There, roundtables were tasked with making recommendations regarding how ASEE can support engineering education, relevant diversity research, and engagement of these diverse communities in society activities.
The purpose of this paper is to report the results of the 2018 ASEE Student Veteran Leadership roundtable. This roundtable brought together a diverse group of veterans, engineering educators, and engineering student veteran researchers. Through a series of ideation exercises and discussions, the group examined the challenges student veterans traditionally face, on-going support initiatives at their home institutions, and recommended actions for ASEE to pursue in the years ahead. The topics discussed during the panel are related to previous research about the challenges faced by veteran students beyond ETETE career paths. A series of novel initiatives are presented that may assist ASEE and university administrators more broadly in adopting a fresh approach to veteran student support.
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