Free ticketed event
While a substantial volume of engineering education literature focuses on expanding the participation of Black undergraduates across engineering disciplines, the majority of these studies are based at four-year Predominately White Institutions. By contrast, only a few studies have explored the pathways of Black students who begin their post-secondary careers in community colleges. In this workshop, investigators leading the Black Engineering Student Transfer (BEST) Project will present findings from their three-year National Science Foundation-funded study of African-diasporic collegians who have transferred or plan to transfer from community colleges to four-year engineering programs. The BEST Project examines undergraduate engineering experiences in post-secondary institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, and, given the multicultural diversity of this region, also reveals differences in the perspectives of both foreign-born and domestic Black undergraduates in engineering.
Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to review and respond to results related to themes generated from undergraduate participant responses and perspectives such as: 1) Institutional supports that lead to persistence at both community colleges as well as four-year programs; 2) Programs and individual student strategies that support transfer processes; and 3) Differences in outcomes as reported by foreign-born and domestic respondents in the study.
Attendees will discuss these and/or other findings associated with the BEST project in a “roundtable” format, having the chance to move from one “table” to another to explore different findings or themes. Roundtables will be arranged based on registration information such that community college and four-year institution representatives sit together in order to promote collaboration across institutional types. Topics discussed across roundtables will vary. For example, one roundtable may be focused on articulation agreements between community colleges and four-year schools, while another might explore cultural and institutional climate differences that students experience after transfer. All attendees will be provided with infographics that provide visual representations of themed findings. During the workshop, participants will be asked to situate the applicability of BEST Project outcomes within their own institutional and geographic context, as a way of identifying the feasibility of implementing change within their particular colleges or universities. Upon conclusion of the workshop, facilitators will synthesize and organize attendee responses and reactions to these outcomes into a working document, which will be shared with attendees for them to potentially employ in their home institutions.
Dr. Bruk T. Berhane received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland in 2003. He then completed a master’s degree in engineering management at George Washington University in 2007. In 2016, he earned a Ph.D. in the Minority and Urban Education Unit of the College of Education at the University of Maryland. He worked at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where he focused on nanotechnology, from 2003 to 2005. In 2005 he left JHU/APL for a fellowship with the National Academies, where he conducted research on methods of increasing the number of women in engineering. After a brief stint teaching mathematics in Baltimore City following his departure from the National Academies, he began working for the Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering (CMSE) in the Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. In 2011, he began working directly under the Office of the Dean in the Clark School, coordinating outreach and recruitment programs for the college. In 2016, he assumed the role of director of the Office of Undergraduate Recruitment and Scholarship Programs. His duties entailed working with prospective freshmen and transfer engineering students. In 2018, he transitioned to the role of assistant research professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the Clark School. In 2019, he transitioned to Florida International University, where he has a joint appointment as an assistant professor in the School of Universal Computing, Construction, and Engineering Education (SUCCEED) and the STEM Transformation Institute. His research interests include transfer students who first enroll in community colleges, as well as developing broader and more nuanced engineering performance indicators.
Dr. Shannon Hayes Buenaflor currently serves as the assistant director of transfer student advising and admissions in the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Prior to working in the Clark School, Ms. Hayes served as an academic adviser in the College of Education at UMD, where she worked with pre-service teachers. In addition to her professional role, Hayes is also a doctoral candidate in the higher education program at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on community college students and transfer student success.
Sharon Fries-Britt is a a professor of higher education at the University of Maryland, College Park, in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (CHSE). Her research examines the experiences of high-achieving Blacks in higher education and underrepresented minorities (URMs) in STEM fields. Fries-Britt has published widely within peer-reviewed journals and she has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of College Student Development, the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, and the College Student Affairs Journal. Recent work examines within group experiences of native and non-native Blacks in higher education as well as issues of campus racial climate. FriesBritt is one of the faculty co-leads and authors of the recently published ACE report Speaking Truth and Acting With Integrity: Confronting Challenges of Campus Racial Climate. Her research has been funded and supported by the Lumina Foundation, the National Society of Black Physicists, and the National Science Foundation.