In 2015, Lamar University (LU) at Beaumont, Texas was awarded an NSF S-STEM grant titled “Industrial and Mechanical Engineering Scholars with Scholarships, Career Mentoring, Outreach and Advisement, Professional Societies and Engineering Learning Community (SCOPE) S-STEM Program.” The goal of the project is to recruit and retain more Industrial Engineering (IE) and Mechanical Engineering (ME) students by providing scholarship funding. This project provides scholarships to academically talented and financially needy IE or ME students to help them complete their Bachelor’s degree. The amount of eligible support was determined based on FAFSA applications through the assistance of the LU Financial Aid Office. The scholarships are complemented by extensive academic support. The project integrates IE and ME scholars with services including Scholarships, Career Mentoring, Outreach and Advisement, Professional Societies and Engineering Learning Community (SCOPE). As such, the students are called SCOPE Scholars in this project. This program will target students from sophomore to senior years and guide them through their degree completion. In fall 2015, the first cohort of 10 SCOPE Scholars were recruited with about $60K of scholarships distributed. At the beginning of fall 2015, a SCOPE orientation was held to explain the expectation of the SCOPE Scholars. LU President, Provost, Dean of Graduate Studies, Dean of Engineering, Chair of IE (Co-PI), Chair of ME (Co-PI), Director of Undergraduate Research, Coordinator of Learning Communities, Senior Director of Co-op and Outreach, and Director of Engineering Marketing attended the orientation. They either addressed the scholars or discussed the relevant academic support available from the university. The scholars are mentored at least twice a semester. During the semesters, they actively participate in extracurricular activities which are assessed using a point-based method. Two undergraduate students were recruited to document their activities and serve as the coordinators. The scholars complete two surveys each semester, one at the beginning and one near the end of semester. Some scholars are randomly selected for one-on-one interviews with the assessment specialist. After one year, all the scholars were able to maintain 3.0+ GPA and meet the requirement for extracurricular and mentoring activities. One scholar graduated in summer 2016 and one scholar received a Co-op position. The second cohort of 9 SCOPE Scholars have been recruited in fall 2016 and they joined the current scholars.
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