First Generation Engineering Student Mentoring Program: A Case Study of a Large Engineering School in the U.S. Conference Paper uri icon

abstract

  • © American Society for Engineering Education, 2018. Retention and graduation rates are lower for engineering institutions compared to their peers in other fields across the United States. While graduation rates are improving slowly over time due to enrichment programs (such as summer bridge program, research experience, and living learning community), not all groups have performed well; this is especially true of underrepresented minority and first generation (FG) students. Literature suggests that the FG students enter college with "distinct disadvantages" as compared to their peers in many ways including academic preparation and basic knowledge about the college education; this makes their transition from the high school to college environment a difficult process. Two key factors for lack of persistence in this population are widely cited: college adjustment and lack of self-efficacy. FG students benefit from additional support as compared to their non-FG counterparts because they do not matriculate with prior knowledge on how the academic process works. To that end, effective mentoring and counselling can help them through the transitional process. In this paper, a case study of a mentoring program that is specifically designed to help FG engineering students at a major university is presented. The paper discusses the implementation process of the mentoring program including recruiting of faculty/staff mentors, student peer mentors, the mentoring relationship management platform, and the connection plan at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. The paper also presents the survey results of the "initial experience" of mentees and mentors and how that has informed the future strategies to sustain and grow the program.

author list (cited authors)

  • Nepal, B., Johnson, M., Jacobs, T., & Weichold, M.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • June 2018