Quality Mentorship Matters: An Innovative Approach to Supporting Student Success in Engineering Undergraduate Research
In this research study, the authors developed a new model of mentorship for faculty members to engage and support their group of students conducting undergraduate engineering research. Research efforts attest that mentoring undergraduate students is a critical role that can dramatically enhance student academic and personal outcomes. This finding is magnified in the context of STEM related disciplines, such as engineering, where efforts to pro-actively diversify the workforce are taking shape. Yet, not every form of faculty-student mentorship is proven to be effective, particularly when faculty conceal forms of knowledge and information regarding internship/employment resources, departmental and research opportunities, curriculum alternatives, exposure to graduate school, and professional experiences that may result favorable in future career aspirations. A fundamental component to facilitating successful student career paths is correlated to an authentic form of mentorship, which exposes students to a plethora of career opportunities and prepares them to navigate postgraduate experiences. The proposed model, which was implemented over a span of four years with a total of sixteen engineering students conducting undergraduate research, identifies four key elements in the transformative process: 1) develop student-faculty relationship; 2) faculty commitment; 3) genuine desire for the mentee to succeed, and 4) willingness from faculty members to disseminate appropriate technical and personal wisdom. This emerging model, termed RCDD (e.g., acronym for Relationship, Commitment, Desire, Disseminate), gives faculty members a template to advance undergraduate engineering student success through a genuine mentorship role. Results indicate that graduating students are better prepared when applying for employment or graduate school. It was also noted that the confidence level increased going into internship opportunities or full-time employment due to their undergraduate involvement in research and the guidance from the faculty advisor.
Marquez, E., & Garcia, S. (2021, July), Quality Mentorship Matters: An Innovative Approach to Supporting Student Success in Engineering Undergraduate Research Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37629
2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference
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