Project Details


The impetus for the Sustainable Bridges from Campus to Campus study is to address the urgent need to expand the pool of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates, especially African American and Hispanic students. Long-term improvements in the pipeline of a diverse STEM workforce start with sustaining effective bridge programs that can produce more engineering baccalaureates. To improve retention in engineering, this study will conduct academic enrichment programs for racially underrepresented engineering students at three points in their career at the Pennsylvania State University--entering freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.

The goals of the study are to (a) increase retention in engineering among racially underrepresented students in the Penn State system, (b) develop long-term sustainability plans for these enrichment programs, and (c) compare retention rates in engineering depending on the campus location of the summer bridge and the student's transfer status within the University system. The conceptual model guiding this study is that retention in engineering is mediated by math performance in gateway courses and the strength of the cohort learning community (based on the Tinto model and theory). The bridges are designed to enhance both factors. Therefore to evaluate student learning and the efficaciousness of the math-intensive bridges, pre-calculus, calculus 1 and calculus 2 grades, and the size and quality of the academic social network in the semester following the bridges are examined. Matched groups is compared to evaluate the intervention. The primary outcome measure is retention in engineering in the junior year.

Effective start/end date1/1/1612/31/21


  • National Science Foundation: $1,769,793.00


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