The NSF grant will go to the nanoscale energy and interfacial transport research based mentoring program to increase underrepresented minority students in STEM. This program explores how to motivate students from the Saint Louis area, and in particular underrepresented minorities, to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. A series of integrated education activities are being established based on research conducted in the Nanoscale Energy and Interfacial Transport (NEIT) laboratory. This outreach will enrich the STEM learning experience for the next generation of students, invoke their engineering interest, and quantitatively assess the factors that impede and motivate students to pursue STEM majors.
The project supports the integration of undergraduate design projects, student talent pipeline programs, and partnerships with high-tech industrial companies. To support broadening participation, the science identity summer workshops provide education and evaluation of the potential social psychological recognition of the value of engineering among minority students. The study seeks to understand how underrepresented minorities can perceive the value of being identified as an engineer as an achievable aspiration. Moreover, this research explores factors that influence underrepresented students? perceptions about science and engineering at a critical developmental stage in which they may deem the workload or value associated with becoming an engineering as not worthwhile in comparison to non-STEM fields.
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