Engineering Careers of Graduates from a Unique Summer Bridge Program
Dr. Robert Whalin (JSU)
What is the current issue? Jackson State University began a 10-week residence Summer Bridge Program in 2009 for incoming freshman engineer and computer science majors with the objective of increasing the retention and graduation rate of engineers. The 10-week program targeted those with Math ACT scores from 17 to 25 (not calculus ready). Students were enrolled in College Algebra the first summer term and in Trigonometry and in a College Guidance course the second summer term. Key aspects of the program are (1) Classes and homework sessions are all day Monday through Thursday, (2) Friday are field trips to engineering employers (3) Classes are in the Engineering Building, (4) Students meet with faculty advisors and enroll for the fall semester, (5) Students are housed on the same floor of a university dormitory, and (6) Graduate student tutors are available all afternoon and on weekends. Several papers were presented and published at American Society for Engineering Education Conferences that describe and early results. These data include academic records of over 300 participants. Unique program aspects are (1) A 10-week campus residence program, (2) Earn 8 semester hours of college credit, (3) Classes are taught by tenured Mathematics Department Professors, (4) Tuition, room, board, and field trips are paid, (5) A summer bridge program sustained for 12 years.
What will the research produce? This education and workforce development research proposal has two objectives (1) Add the last five summers of data to the first seven summers (included in the last ASEE publication) and (2) Investigate the engineering careers of more than 200 graduates and obtain the student’s assessment of the value of the Summer Bridge Program to their careers. This proposal gives the STRIDE program the opportunity to mine 12 years of unique Summer Bridge program data.