Title

Assessing a Pre-College STEM Program's Impact on Recruiting Minorities for STEM Degrees and Careers

First Presenter's Institution

Fort Valley State University / Valdosta State University

Second Presenter's Institution

Fort Valley State University

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Session 4 (Ballroom D)

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

There is a significant under-representation of minorities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Although addressing this problem has been of national concern for many years, minorities are still underrepresented in STEM related disciplines (National Science Foundation, [NSF], 2015). One potential solution highly adopted by universities across the country is the establishment of pre-college programs that focus on STEM subjects. The Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP) at Fort Valley State University operates a pre-college program called the Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Academy (M-SEA) that has been very successful at exciting minority and female high school students about STEM and recruiting them for STEM majors. This presentation is related to Strand I and will demonstrate how the M-SEA program is promoting academic excellence and leadership for minorities to pursue STEM careers.

Brief Program Description

The objective of this session is to highlight a pre-college intervention program called the Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Academy (M-SEA) which has been successful in recruiting, retaining, and graduating minorities for STEM majors and careers. The target audience includes k-12 educators, middle/high school students, parents, universities, and anyone interested in increasing STEM awareness for minority youths.

Summary

Historically, minorities have been underrepresented in STEM occupations. The United States must increase the number of minorities and women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in order to compete with our global counterparts. Therefore, it is imperative America vigorously explore various measures to recruit underrepresented groups for entering college to pursue baccalaureate degrees in STEM fields. One possible remedy for addressing the deficiency is the development of STEM focused pre-college programs. Research has shown pre-college intervention programs can be instrumental in encouraging the interest of minority students in math and science.

This session will highlight a pre-college program called the Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Academy (M-SEA) and its impact on encouraging academically talented minority high school students to pursue STEM careers. M-SEA is an early intervention STEM-focused program that targets minority and female students who have just been promoted to the ninth grade. These students participate in a summer experience each year from 9th through 12th grades and are introduced to the fields of energy, mathematics, earth science, biology, engineering, and computer science. The program is operated by the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP) at Fort Valley State University and students that graduate from the M-SEA program have an opportunity to feed into CDEP’s collegiate pipeline that offers STEM dual-degrees, scholarships, internships, and pathways to graduate school and/or employment with STEM-related corporations and agencies. As an early outreach STEM pre-college program, M-SEA has been successful in two major areas: (1) M-SEA has been successful at recruiting minority and female students into pursuing dual degrees in STEM. (2) M-SEA has encouraged and mentored students from under-represented groups to pursue careers in STEM.

The session will also feature the results of a case study that involved eight subjects who graduated from the M-SEA program. The qualitative data collected reveals several common themes that provide a greater understanding of which aspects of the program had the greatest influence on the participants’ decision “to or not to” pursue a STEM-related degree and/or a STEM-related career.

Evidence

Precollege outreach programs that focus on introducing underrepresented groups to STEM disciplines can make a significant difference in increasing the number of minority and female students that pursue STEM majors. Students learn while they are in high school that understanding math well is a prerequisite to their success in pursuing STEM disciplines in college. Therefore, it is important to ensure the existence of such programs so that minority students are introduced to STEM disciplines early in their educational development

In 1993, the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP) implemented the Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Academy or M-SEA. M-SEA is an early intervention outreach program for academically-talented students from under-represented groups in STEM disciplines. The students are selected in the second semester of the 8th grade based on their academic performance on state standardized test scores. The goal of CDEP’s M-SEA program is to provide a continuous pipeline for minority and female students from 9th grade through high school, to undergraduate and graduate levels of study majoring in mathematics, science, or engineering.

Since M-SEA’s implementation in 1993, 852 students have been mentored in the program. Out of that number, a total of 410 students (46.1% male and 53.9% female) have completed M-SEA through the 12th grade. A total of 171 students have matriculated at Fort Valley State University and 141 or 82% of those have enrolled into one of CDEP’s STEM dual degree programs in biology, chemistry, engineering, geology, geophysics, health physics, and mathematics. Seventy-nine of the 141 have either completed one of CDEP’s dual degree programs or are currently in the M-SEA/CDEP pipeline, which shows a 56% success rate. Due to the success of M-SEA, the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin replicated the M-SEA model to form its pre-collegiate GEOFORCE program.

The program has received numerous awards including President Barack Obama’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering mentoring. Also as a result of CDEP, Fort Valley State University ranked number one in the nation in graduating African Americans in Mathematics and Statistics in 2011, 2014, and 2015 (Diverse Issues in Higher Education). The aforementioned statistics along with the varied recognition and awards the program has received demonstrate evidence of the program’s effectiveness.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Jackie Hodges is the Assistant Director of the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP) at Fort Valley State University. She has served in this position for more than 30 years and has extensive experience working with both high school and college students in the areas of STEM. Ms. Hodges holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Georgia College and State University and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership (ABD) from Valdosta State University. In her role as Assistant CDEP Director, one of her major responsibilities is managing a summer pre-college program called the Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Academy (M-SEA). Her work with M-SEA fulfills her passion of educating minority students at an early age about STEM and introducing them to career options in STEM they may never have considered. Ms. Hodges believes that the key to recruiting minority students for STEM is to provide them with opportunities to interact with professionals in STEM that look like them and engage them in interactive projects where they are able to observe how STEM relates to their real world. Ms. Hodges has co-authored several papers and presented her work with MSEA at various national conferences.

Dr. Isaac J. Crumbly, Associate Vice President for Careers and Collaborative Programs, is the Founder and Director of the Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Developmental Energy Program. He has served Fort Valley State University as a faculty, Director, Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Associate Vice President and Vice President for Careers and Collaborative Programs. Dr. Crumbly has achieved success as a developer of innovative programs, a researcher, teacher, and mentor. He is a skilled grants person and has provided over a $30 million impact for Fort Valley State University and its students through funded proposals, grants, corporate partnerships, IPAs, cooperative agreements, memoranda of understandings, internships, and co-op assignments. In 1983, Dr. Crumbly developed and founded the Fort Valley State University’s Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP). Via CDEP, Fort Valley State University students have participated in over 850 internships with the public and private sectors of the energy industry, gained over 320,000 hours of hands-on-work experience, and earned over $4.5 million to help finance their education.

Dr. Crumbly has also exhibited his skills in inter-state and inter-institutional curriculum development. He has developed dual degree STEM programs between Fort Valley State University (HBCU) and several PWI’s: namely, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the University of Oklahoma, Georgia Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, University of Arkansas, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Texas Pan American.

He has been recognized nationally for his creativity of introducing innovative programs and has received numerous awards which include recognition by two Presidents: A letter of commendation from President RonaldReagan in 1988 for exemplary achievements as an educator, researcher, and role model. In January of 2011, he received President Barack Obama’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring; other notable honors include Honorary Doctorate of Science presented by the University of Arkansas in 2010; selected to President Barack Obama’s PCAST Working Group on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Committee for Higher Education in 2011; recipient of the Geological Society of America’s 2014 Bromery Award; and became a Geological Society of America Fellow in 2015.

Keyword Descriptors

pre-college programs, STEM, minorities and STEM

Presentation Year

March 2020

Start Date

3-10-2020 8:30 AM

End Date

3-10-2020 9:45 AM

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Mar 10th, 8:30 AM Mar 10th, 9:45 AM

Assessing a Pre-College STEM Program's Impact on Recruiting Minorities for STEM Degrees and Careers

Session 4 (Ballroom D)

The objective of this session is to highlight a pre-college intervention program called the Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Academy (M-SEA) which has been successful in recruiting, retaining, and graduating minorities for STEM majors and careers. The target audience includes k-12 educators, middle/high school students, parents, universities, and anyone interested in increasing STEM awareness for minority youths.