Sustainable bridges from campus to campus: Progress after year 2

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of the Sustainable Bridges from Campus to Campus study (NSF IUSE #1525367) is to increase the number of underrepresented students (i.e., African American, Native American, Hispanic American students) in undergraduate Engineering majors. By doing so we strive to address the urgent need to expand the pool of undergraduates who earn a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) degree. This paper describes progress in Year 2 of the project with a focus on Cohort 2. Goals: To improve retention in Engineering, this study conducts academic enrichment programs for racially underrepresented Engineering students at three points in their career at the Pennsylvania State University-entering first-year students, rising sophomores, and rising juniors. The goals of the study are to (a) increase retention in Engineering among racially underrepresented students in the Pennsylvania State University system, (b) develop long-term sustainability plans for these enrichment programs, and (c) compare retention rates in Engineering depending on whether students attended a summer academic enhancement program at the regional campus they attend in the fall or at a different campus and whether they transfer between campuses within the University system (native students vs. 2+2 students). Method: Students in the summer bridge programs for incoming first-year students and rising sophomores attend 4-or 6-week summer programs that provide math-intensive curriculum, the application of Engineering concepts, and the development of a cohort learning community. The summer bridge programs for incoming first-year students consist of 5 summer bridge programs across 4 campuses in the University system. For the summer bridge program for rising sophomores, Engineering students from any campus in the University system go to the flagship campus. To assess the effectiveness of these academic enhancement programs for undergraduate Engineering majors, we examine math course grades, fall semester grade point average, and enrollment status for students who participated in our programs and a matched sample of students who did not participate. To date, we are tracking the academic progress of two cohorts of first-year students from summer 2016 and 2017 and one cohort of rising sophomores from summer 2017. Results: There were 94 first-year bridge students in 2017. Students who participated in the mathintensive summer bridge programs earned statistically higher grades, by half a letter grade, in their first college math course compared to the matched comparison sample. Summer bridge students were significantly more likely to earn a C or better in their first college math course (66%) than the comparison sample (52%). High school grade point average and SAT Math scores independently and significantly predicted the first math course grade in a positive direction for the summer bridge students but not for the comparison sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 23 2018
Event125th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2018Dec 27 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Sustainable bridges from campus to campus: Progress after year 2'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this