Secures $1.5 Million NSF Grant to Promote Engineering Inclusivity | rowan today | Jobs Vox


Access to STEM education is important for everyone, but many students face barriers to affording college or sticking to a rigorous schedule of study. Through a program funded by the National Science Foundation Scholarship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) grant, the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering is implementing a three-pronged initiative to make engineering education more inclusive and students more likely. to graduate.

“This grant will touch every single engineering student who comes through Rowan,” said Dr. Caitlin Malouk, associate professor in the Department of Applied Engineering Education (ExEEd). The six-year, $1.5-million grant runs through October 31, 2028, and funds activities for all engineering students, along with scholarships for low-income students.

The program’s financial scholarship level will provide funding of up to $10,000 per year for four years to at least eight students per year. New cohorts will begin during the fall semesters of 2023, 2024 and 2025. Students from all engineering majors who demonstrate strong academic performance may apply for this need-based scholarship.

“This scholarship will eliminate the need for low-income students to work during the semester so they can focus on their engineering studies,” Malouk said. “Cost should not deter talented students from obtaining a STEM education.”

An important part of the program is placing incoming first-year students, especially scholarship recipients, in the College’s engineering learning community. Through this living-learning community, first-year engineering students live in the same dorm, participate in study groups and activities and take their first-semester engineering clinic and calculus classes together, all juniors and seniors. Members under the advice of Engineering Heads and Engineering Faculty.

“There is good data that students who participate in a learning community are more likely to continue and graduate because they have a built-in safety net of peer and faculty mentors to help them if they are struggling,” Malouk said. While participation in the engineering learning community is embodied in this scholarship program, the community Henry M. Available to any first year student entering the Rowan College of Engineering.

Perseverance in engineering education goes hand in hand with inclusion – another need that will be addressed by this program intervention.

“When students feel like they belong, they are more likely to stick around and stay,” Malouk said.

All engineering students will complete a modified Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) course in their first-year clinic. Scholarship recipients will also engage in DEI leadership training to empower them to make engineering communities, classrooms and workforces more inclusive.

Lack of inclusion not only deters talented students from becoming engineers. It also limits engineering as a field.

“We know that different perspectives are beneficial when solving problems, and that is what engineering is all about – solving problems,” Malouk said. “We want to bring DEI into everyone’s consciousness and train members of groups that traditionally make up the majority of engineers who buy into Rowan and beyond in the value of creating a more inclusive engineering environment.”

Malouk will work with Dr. Juan Cruz, another faculty member at XEED, to evaluate educational interventions to understand which parts of the program are most successful in helping students graduate on time. They plan to share their findings of the interventions that make the biggest difference in student persistence and inclusion with engineering colleges across the country.

Incoming first-year students can visit the Engineering Learning Community page for more information and to express interest in the scholarship program. Malouk expects to open the application portal in early 2023 and will notify students who express interest as soon as the portal becomes available.


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