A diverse technology workforce remains a key requirement of sustained innovation and discovery in an increasingly global marketplace where there are expanded opportunities in high tech fields. Students who begin their college careers in community college can play an important role in growing and diversifying that workforce. The Transfer Scholars in IT and Engineering (T-SITE) program recruits, retains, and graduates academically talented transfer students in computing and engineering majors, with an emphasis on serving women, underrepresented minorities, and students with financial need. T-SITE is funded by the National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program and managed by the Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).
T-SITE Scholars are part of the larger CWIT community of Scholars and Affiliates, which supports academic success and professional development through a number of integrated program components. The academic support elements include a First Year Experience seminar during the first semester, regular meetings with an advisor to set goals and track individual progress, and development of leadership skills through involvement in student organizations and K-12 outreach. Through professional development activities, T-SITE Scholars are matched with faculty and peer mentors in their major, explore career options, develop lifelong career management skills, and identify internships and post-graduation jobs with the assistance of an assigned industry mentor. This holistic model of support safeguards the transfer process and nurtures the development of T-SITE Scholars as successful UMBC students and future professionals in engineering and computing.
Since 2012, T-SITE has served a total of 32 transfer students with diverse backgrounds from Maryland community colleges who are majoring in engineering or computing and have demonstrated financial need. Forty-four percent of these scholars identify as women, and 47% identify as African American or Black. Scholars in the first four cohorts came to UMBC with an average transfer GPA of 3.41 and 59 credits completed. One hundred percent of all students in the first four cohorts were retained in engineering or computing majors. The average time to graduation for T-SITE Scholars is three years after transferring to UMBC. Twelve of the thirteen scholars in the first two cohorts have graduated and eleven had attained jobs prior to graduation. Seventy-nine percent of T-SITE scholars in the first four cohorts have engaged in an internship or research experience. The fifth cohort of scholars entered the program in Fall 2016.
This poster presentation will discuss the impetus for designing scholar programs to (1) address the unique needs of transfer students (particularly women and underrepresented minorities) in computing and engineering, (2) disseminate key outcomes that highlight successful and replicable elements of the T-SITE Scholars program, and (3) discuss the challenges encountered throughout the implementation of T-SITE, as well as some ways to respond to these challenges.
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