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Background: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) areas are one of the fastest-growing majors in the nation. Engineering is projected to add the second largest number of new jobs from 2016 to 2026 with 140,000 new jobs (Torpey, 2018).According to the National Center for Education Statistics despite all the research done throughout decades to improve the issue of retention in STEM areas about half of the students who pursue a degree in STEM will either leave or change majors.

Purpose: This study aimed to sample at-risk college freshmen students from the College of Engineering & Computer Science, to describe and explain the association between retention after the first year of at-risk college freshmen students in a STEM program and completion of a STEM intervention, to identify the reasons STEM students decided to stay in the program after completing a STEM intervention, and to identify how to improve the STEM intervention.

Method: A Chi-square test of independence was used to find if there was an association between the completion of a STEM intervention and the retention rate of at-risk freshmen students and focus group interviews.

Results & Conclusions: The quantitative analysis, a test of independence X2 (chi-square)found no statistically significant association between STEM intervention completion and retention. The qualitative analysis provided five themes describing the students’ STEM intervention experience was also provided: learning activities and processes, mentorship, sense of belonging, and transitioning from high school to college.


cc-by-4.0 iconCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title

International Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Studies





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