Abstract The REDACTED Scholarship Program sponsored bythe National Science Foundation since September, 2013 is designed to giveeconomically disadvantaged undergraduate students located in the REDACTED areathe financial support, mentoring, and career skills necessary to graduate fromREDACTED. These resources and aid lead students to be more successful in theirengineering and/or statistics careers. The program provides a financial aidpackage equaling 75% of in-state tuition costs each semester. Several career developmentactivities, such as laboratory visits, mock interviews, and industry panels arealso offered by this program.
It provides networking opportunities withprofessionals in industry and academia to further develop connections leadingto internships, co-ops, or research experiences. Additionally, it promotesoutreach events to encourage STEM as a career path and to mentor youth in thelocal REDACTED community. The goal is to give scholars the tools and confidenceneeded to succeed after graduating from REDACTED. Surveys are conductedbefore and after each semester, in order to collect data on each student’sacademic progress and involvement in both academic activities and communityservice.
At the start and end of every semester the students’ long-term andshort-term career goals are also updated. From the Fall 2016 to Spring 2017academic years, 75% of scholars received higher than a 3.35 grade pointaverage. All scholars are actively involved in extracurricular activities oncampus. Eleven scholars have participated in community service, such as theSociety of Women in Engineering’s event, “Be that Engineer” helping to inspireyoung females to consider engineering as a career path. Twelve scholars haveparticipated in an academic and/or professional development events includingresearch seminars, the REDACTED Engineering Career Fair, tech talks, andinvolvement in academic related student organizations.
Thirteen out oftwenty scholars have participated in at least one internship, co-op, or researchposition within the academic year. The cumulative involvement in eventshighlight the effectiveness of the program in connecting scholars with highimpact activities. Major GoalsThe major goal of this program is to offer anacademic support system for economically disadvantaged undergraduate studentslocated in the REDACTED area. The program aims to provide a pathway to successby issuing financial support, mentoring, and career skills to undergraduatestudents studying engineering and/or statistics. The program gives each student75% of in-state tuition costs each semester. It helps develop career-readinessskills through mock job interviews, professional development workshops, andindustry visits with mock companies.
Participating in these opportunities givesscholars the practice and confidence to better prepare them for the workforce.Additionally, the program helps scholars network with industry professionalsand faculty on campus. This connection has lead scholars to receiveundergraduate engineering research opportunities. Through undergraduateresearch, scholars have the opportunity to explore and promote innovation intheir field of interest. In addition, it further develops their criticalthinking skills, independence, and oral/written communication skills.Undergraduate research can also provide one-on-one mentoring for the scholar.
The numerous opportunities from the REDACTED Scholars program have been shownto increase the participation in internships, co-ops, and undergraduateresearch. Application and SelectionStudents in this program receive $6,500(equalting 75% of in-state tuition costs) each semester with no specificallocations within academic disciplines. This is to ensure that each studentselected is of the highest academic quality with a demonstrated need forfinancial aid. Students admitted to REDACTED University are invited to applyonline if they meet the following requirements: Demonstrated financial need through FAFSA Matriculated into engineering or statistics Full-time undergraduate enrollment in engineering or statistics Demonstrated academic merit, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher Raleigh permanent address U.S citizen, national, or alien admitted as a refugee at time of considerationAfter the online application period closes, agroup of applicants are invited for a face-to-face interview.
The students thatare highly qualified are then selected to join the REDACTED Scholars programbeginning in the Fall semester. Could add something about the Wake Tech 2+3program here, but not familiar with the program to be able to write about it.RenewalAt the end of each semester, scholars will bereviewed for renewal consideration. Each scholar is asked to complete an onlinesurvey documenting his/her academic and professional progress throughout thesemester. To be eligible for renewal, students must: Maintain minimum GPA of 3.
0 Complete at least 30 credit hours each academic year (university minimum is 24) Change to next higher student classification each year Make demonstrated progress towards engineering or statistics degree Maintain positive student image consistent with academic scholars Continue demonstrated financial need (i.e., FAFSA eligible) Maintain Raleigh permanent address Continue full-time enrollment in engineering or statistics Continue involvement in campus student or professional organizations, or active participant in STEM Scholar-related activities (e.g., serving as an ambassador for the STEM program to recruit new students and updating e-portfolio) A scholar can stay in the program and be reneweduntil graduation. If a scholar particpates in a co-op for a semester, he/shewill not have the scholarship renewed while away during that semester, buthe/she will be eligible for renewal upon return to the university. A scholarmay remain in the program while on academic probation for up to one academicsemester.Program ActivitiesAlong with maintaining a high academic merit,each scholar is expected to participate in at least one extracurricularactivity.
This includes industry internships, undergraduate research, studyabroad, writing/tutoring services, faculty seminars and workshops, andacademic/service on-campus organizations. Participation in such activitiesenhance students’ academic maturation and professional skills. It helps developprofessionalism, teamwork, and time-management skills which will benefitstudents in their future careers.At the beginning of the Fall semester, scholarswere invited to attend an orientation session. This social event allowsscholars to meet each other face-to-face for the first time and receive anoverview of the program. During this time, scholars were asked to create a listof events and/or opportunities that they would like to participate in duringthe academic year. The most requested opportunities among the scholars wereresearch seminars, networking events with alumni, laboratory visits, andmentoring opportunities.
Taking the scholars’ requests intoconsideration, REDACTED Scholars offered two outreach events that students hadthe opportunity to participate in. The first event was volunteering at REDACTEDUniversity’s annual Engineering Open House, offered in month, 2017.During this event, scholars presented a poster and answered questions fromprospective REDACTED College of Engineering students and families. The secondoutreach event during the academic school year was Society of Women Engineers:Be that Engineer! During this event, scholars attended a local REDACTED middleschool to connect with young women and serve as a STEM role model. The eventaims to empower women and suggest that STEM is a highly desirable andachievable career aspiration for women. Eighty percent of scholars participatedin at least one of these outreach events. Scholars who participated in outreachreported that they gained satisfaction and confidence by serving ashigh-achieving mentors to peers and younger generations in their community.
FindingsSince the program began in Fall 2013, there hasbeen an increase in the number of students participating in at least oneinternship, co-op, or undergraduate research experience. During the Fall 2013-Spring 2014 academic year (Year 1), 33% of students participated in an internship,co-op, or research experience. For the Fall 2016- Spring 2017 academic year(Year 4), 65% of scholars participated in an internship, co-op or undergraduateresearch experience. The rise in industry and/or research experience providesmore students with a stronger career-readiness foundation necessary to besuccessful upon graduation. It gives scholars valuable work experience whileallowing them to explore their career interests and further developprofessional skills.Graph 1: Number of Scholars Participating in anInternship, Co-Op, or Undergraduate Research Graph 2 shown below demonstrates the increasingnumber of total participating students since the program began in 2013. In Fall2013 (Year 1), there was a total of six scholars, four male (66%) and twofemale (33%). In Spring 2017 (Year 4), there was a total of twenty REDACTEDscholars.
Eleven male (55%) and nine female (44%). The Fall 2016- Spring 2017academic year (Year 4) had the closest male to female ratio compared to pastyears. Additionally, the size of the program has grown by 70% since it began. Ofthe twenty participating scholars for the Fall 2016- Spring 2017 academic year,four have graduated in Spring 2017. Three of these students have chosen to seekpermanent employment, and one will continue formal education and obtain aMaster of Science in Textile Engineering. All four of these students havegraduated within four years or less from the admission of REDACTED Universityand/or transferred from a Community College.
Graph 2: Participant Gender and Total Number ofScholars Since the Beginning of the Program ConclusionThe fourth year of REDACTED Scholarship programfor undergraduate students in engineering and statistics has demonstrated ahigh academic success rate among its participants. Graduating students havereported a sense of confidence and career-readiness due to participation in thefour year program. In addition to benefits derived from the financial aidpackage, scholars have reported that the interactions with like-minded peershave helped them achieve success in their undergraduate career at REDACTED University.