The NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program supports the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need. Over the five-year award, this project at the Batten College of Engineering and Technology at Old Dominion University (ODU) will fund 60 scholarships to students, in groups of 6-8 students who are pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering. The project will include recruitment of second career seeking students interested in a concentration in manufacturing of advanced materials. In addition to scholarships, the program will include a hands-on, project-based curriculum with opportunities to conduct interdisciplinary research projects in advanced manufacturing areas. Co -curricular activities will include regular seminars, mentoring opportunities, and participation in professional societies and conferences for S-STEM scholars. This S-STEM project aims to create a pipeline for well-trained second career students entering engineering professions with focus on manufacturing of advanced materials.
The project will focus on understanding the factors that affect academic success of engineering students at ODU. The combination of interventions will improve self-efficacy beliefs and outcome expectations among second career seeking students. Faculty from the Batten College of Engineering and Technology will collaborate with researchers in the Department of Psychology at ODU to study barriers, supports and resources that affect agility, academic success, recruitment, retention, and degree attainment of engineering students. The project will extend the methodology previously developed at ODU for understanding the differential experiences of groups of students as they transition along their careers paths. From the educational research point of view, the project will study the transition process for second career seeking students as an educational psychology research problem, identifying the critical barriers and the key driving factors (i.e. support and resources) that facilitate a successful transition to a new career. When acted upon, this knowledge may lead to improvements in the success rate for second career seeking students in engineering programs at ODU and nationwide. Therefore, the inclusion of second career seeking students at ODU will contribute to the national effort to engage wider groups of academically talented, hardworking students with financial need in STEM careers.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.