Retention, graduation, and graduate school: A five-year program focusing on women and underrepresented minority engineering and computer science students

Mary Anderson-Rowland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

10 Scopus citations


The Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research Community (CIRC) program was initiated in Fall 2002, in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, supported by a CSEM grant from the National Science Foundation. With a no-cost extension, the grant of $400,000 for four years actually supported the program for five years. The primary purposes of the program were to help academically sound junior and senior engineering and computer science students with financial need to improve retention, to expand their horizons about the field of engineering, to provide professional improvement, and to encourage the students to go on to graduate school right after completing their Bachelor of Science in Engineering or Bachelor of Science (in Computer Science) degree. Students received CIRC scholarships of up to $3,125 per academic year, depending on unmet financial need. The program focused on women and underrepresented minority engineering and computer science students who made up close to 60% of the total enrollment in the program. Sixty-seven CIRC students participated in the program with 49 of the 62 (5 entered the program as graduate students) undergraduates graduated with a Bachelor's degree and 20 of these students immediately enrolled in graduate school (41%, compared with 17.9% nationally). The program retention is 97%. Forty-two percent of the participants have been female and 25.4% of the participants have been minority students. A total of 39 CIRC students are either minority or female (58.2%). The average GPA of the Spring 07 students was 3.61. This paper will review the major lessons in program improvement learned over the five years. Also included in the paper are summaries of program events, evaluations, and observations by program participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2008
Event2008 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Pittsburg, PA, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2008Jun 24 2008


Other2008 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
CountryUnited States
CityPittsburg, PA


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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