Purpose: The purpose of the Sustainable Bridges from Campus to Campus study (NSF IUSE #1525367) is to increase the retention of racially underrepresented students (i.e., African American, Native American, and Hispanic students) in undergraduate Engineering majors at Penn State. We strive to address the urgent need to expand and diversify the pool of undergraduates who earn a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) degree. To achieve this goal, the Sustainable Bridges project consists of a comprehensive series of interventions including the Engineering Ahead first-year summer bridge program, the Jump Start second-year summer bridge program, and a transition program for juniors changing from a University regional campus to the University flagship campus. As of this writing, we are completing Year 3 of the 5-year project. Previous papers described outcomes for the first-year bridge program. This paper describes outcomes for two cohorts of students who participated in the Jump Start second-year summer bridge intervention.
Goals: To improve retention in Engineering, this project will conduct academic enrichment programs for racially underrepresented Engineering students at three points in their career at the University—entering first-year students, rising second-year students, and rising juniors. The goals of the study are to (a) increase retention in Engineering among racially underrepresented students in the University system, (b) develop long-term sustainability plans for these enrichment programs, and (c) compare retention rates in Engineering depending on whether students attended a summer academic enhancement program at the regional campus they attend in the fall or at a different campus and whether they transfer between campuses within the University system (native students vs. 2+2 students).
Method: The Jump Start summer bridge is a 4-week residential program on the University flagship campus for rising second-year Engineering students throughout the University system to prepare them for Calculus II, Differential Equations, Physics I or Physics II. The program also focuses on cohort building. Enrollment priority is given to racially underrepresented students, those who participated in the Engineering Ahead first-year bridge program, and those from a University regional campus. To assess the effectiveness of Jump Start for the first two cohorts (N = 93), we will compare participants to a sample of students who did not participate in Jump Start who were matched on sex, race/ethnicity, major, campus assignment, and SAT Math scores, for a total sample of 186 students. We compare the two groups on fall-semester math and physics course grades, fall semester grade point average, and enrollment status. We also examine the entrance-to-major status for Cohort 1 for retention in Engineering, retention in STEM, and retention at the University.
Results: Analyses are being conducted at present.
Conclusions: Conclusions are pending following completion of data analysis.
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