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Thursday, July 8th, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM: Welcome
Welcome
Anthony DePass
Nicquet Blake
Shanta Outlaw
 
 
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM: Plenary
The Need for Culturally Responsive Methods in Higher Education
Tonikiaa Orange
 
 
12:35 PM - 2:05 PM: Concurrent Workshops
Creating STEAM Student Led Learning Experiences Rooted in Justice and Identity
Jacob Adams, STEM to the Future
 
 
Abstract: Time has long passed for Black and Latinx elementary youth to be seen as scientists, designers, community planners, and activists. The opportunity for them to be seen as such is rare and when it is afforded to Black and Latinx youth, it is almost exclusively for high school youth. At STEM to the Future, we start this process with elementary youth showing them that age isn't a prerequisite for creating change. In the summer of 2020, we piloted our Brick by Brick programs, which are student-led initiatives where the students work together to decide on and execute their own projects in the community. They are guided through the process of (1) creating a clear vision for the world they want and deserve and (2) using STEAM to develop projects that support their vision, and (3) connecting with the community and grassroots organizations to implement the projects.Brick by Brick creates a space for students to collaborate with each other and with the community to use STEAM to solve real problems, which they identify themselves in collaboration with the community. Our assumption is students will be more likely to be invested in their communities as they mature if they see the meaningful change they are able to create in their neighborhoods at a young age. We're cultivating our youth so that are able to appropriate technology and use in the fight for their freedom. You'll see how girls and non-binary youth in our Build'Em Up Robotics program used coding and robotics to deliver PPE to elders in their communities and see how students in our Building Healthy Communities program are testing different ways to bring food justice to South Central, Los Angeles.
Education should be reflective of the world that you live in and seeks to support you in addressing injustice


In this early phase of Brick by Brick, 100% of students have worked on at least 3 new STEAM skills, collaborated with others on decision-making in a democratic and meaningful way, and identified more than one community need based on research.

After hearing about our approach to creating student led learning experiences rooted in justice and STEAM formal educators, informal educators and researchers will brainstorm and workshop ideas for how to integrate this liberatory approach into their practice. Attendees will focus on centering their students' feelings and expertise, recreating power dynamics within the classroom in service of our youth, learn and share strategies for helping their class build connections with one another and their community. Additionally, attendees will walk away with a guide and community to support them as they create educational experiences that are reflective of the world that their students want to live in and builds students' confidence in addressing injustice.
Your Voice Matters! Letters of Recommendation as Critical Interventions to Foster Applicant Success
Patricia Cameron, Augusta University
Victoria Freedman, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Nicquet Blake, University of Texas HSC
Nancy Schwartz, University of Chicago
David Van Vactor, Harvard Medical School
 
 
Abstract: Letters of recommendation (LoR) are a vital element of the graduate school application process. The crucial role of these letters is particularly evident in the time of COVID, when a student's lack of research opportunities may have an impact on the student's application profile. In addition, with many graduate schools no longer requiring GRE scores, a holistic review of the graduate school application relies even more heavily on substantive letters of recommendation. Why is the LoR a critical intervention? The LoR introduces the student to the admissions committee and provides significant details about the student's experiences and abilities, which may not be evident from other parts of the application. The LoR generally highlights the student's talents and achievements but also can be used to contextualize the student's progress and explain any "bumps in the road." This session will parse the LoR from differing points of view: the admissions committee's expectations as well as the recommender's role and the applicant's responsibilities. During the workshop, we will share advice and best practices for recommenders to write the most compelling LoR and review some real world examples. We will address frequently asked questions and specific challenges encountered when working with and advising underrepresented students. In breakout sessions, participants will practice writing about particular student attributes, provide feedback to each other, and then further develop an advising rubric for students to use when asking for letters of recommendation. The workshop will be led by individuals who chair and/or serve on graduate school admission committees.
The Culture Box: A simple, highly effective activity to initiate conversations about diversity and inclusion in STEMM
Richard McGee, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Angela Byars-Winston, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Christine Pfund, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Simon Williams, Swansea University
 
 
Abstract: The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) was initiated in 2014 as part of the NIH Diversity Program Consortium to address the ongoing underrepresentation of several racial and ethnic groups in science. The mission of NRMN was to increase the quality and accessibility of mentoring relationships for all rising scientists, particularly those from underrepresented groups. One group within NRMN set out to create an entirely new approach to teaching the skills needed for culturally aware mentoring (CAM). The CAM workshop was shown to be highly impactful both right after and, for many, even a year or more later. In every delivery of CAM, one activity was universally rated as the most effective and unique - The Culture Box. This workshop will give participants the chance to experience The Culture Box, learn how it has come to be used effectively in many different settings, and explore how to use it initiate conversations about diversity and inclusion in their settings.

The origins of the Culture Box are not clear, but it came to be a part of CAM after one of us (RM) experienced it as part of Change Makers at Northwestern University. Change Makers is a year-long dialogue based series for groups of 20-25 staff and faculty, based on the Intergroup Dialogue model developed by social scientists at the University of Michigan. Activities similar to the Culture Box have been used for many years in K-12 education from the framework of personal cultural artifacts. They focus on the link between two processes: identity and cultural self representation. The benefit of such activities is in the process of participants reflecting on and selecting their artifacts and then sharing and explaining themselves and others (1-2).

Briefly, each person is asked to create their Culture Box before coming to a gathering. It is composed of 2-3 physical objects (or pictures when the object is too big or inaccessible) that represent important parts of who they are, their cultures, whatever that means to them; one of the objects should represent their racial or ethnic culture. When participants come together, whether face-to-face or online, they are broken into groups of 4-5. Each person then describes what they brought, why they brought it, and what it means to them. Typically, 3-6 minutes are allowed for each person to speak and others ask them questions. Invariably, conversations become very engaged and allow people to get to know each other very quickly and in meaningful ways. The critical role it plays with CAM has been described (3) but the workshop will go more deeply into the kinds of conversations that occur.

Based on the impact of the Culture Box in CAM, each of us is using it in many different settings with impacts that are more powerful and meaningful than any single activity we have discovered or created. It has become a pivotal activity in many settings, including: a scientific society professional development program for graduate students and postdocs (The ASPECT Mentoring Network - 4); department or program-focused initiatives (HHMI Gilliam Scholar Program, Vanderbilt University's Mentor Training); individual faculty with their research groups; and, most recently, the initiation of career coaching groups across 2 unique PhD programs in the U.K. supported by the Wellcome Trust.

The workshop will include 5 elements:

1. Additional instructions about the Culture Box will be provided a few days before the workshop so that participants can prepare their Culture Boxes.

2. To start the workshop, everyone will share their Culture Box in groups of 4-5.

3. We will do an extensive debriefing of the sharing of Culture Boxes, exploring how it 'works' and how those from different social, racial, gender, and other identity groups may learn from it

4. More descriptions of how it has been used in other settings

5. Group dialogue about ways in which workshop participants could envision using it in the future
2:10 PM - 3:40 PM: Concurrent Workshops
Implementing and Evaluating Evidence-based Strategies for Skills Training and Student Engagement in a Graduate Bioscience Classroom
Ronald (Jason) Heustis, Harvard University (Harvard Medical School)
 
 
Abstract: For over a decade, we have reiteratively refined our course on the "Principles of Molecular Biology" to better meet the needs of graduate bioscience students and to align with new priorities in graduate STEM education. These priorities include the integration of evidenced-based practices emanating from the scholarship of teaching and learning, enhancing student engagement, delivering training on essential academic skills, and providing support for professional development and workforce readiness for our students. Our results have shown our students benefit from our course and other sources of training they encounter in the first semester of graduate school. These data come from both self-reported measures of learning and from students' performance on previously validated assessments (Lachance et al., 2020).

For example, one of the innovations we introduced was experimental design chalk talks employed as an activity-assessment (Heustis et al., 2019). Chalk talks challenge presenters to deliver an experimental plan - proposing a solution to an open-ended, current research question in the field - doing so without the use of pre-prepared visual aids. As implemented in our course, chalk talks replaced traditional journal clubs as activities for sections; they now contribute significantly to students' overall grades for the course (with the removal of midterms and finals) and provide training on the transferable skills of critical thinking, experimental design and science communication. As our students may go to encounter the chalk talk format in their pre-qualifying exams, when applying for postdoctoral positions, or in interviewing for faculty positions, we consider this introduction to the presentation style highly valuable.

In this interactive symposium, participants will
(1.) evaluate our "Principles of Molecular Biology" course syllabus, discuss its strengths and weaknesses, identify instances of evidence-based practices, and discuss how traditional and non-traditional assessments are integrated to promote student learning (including formative vs summative assessments);
(2.) study and discuss a framework, presented in the form of a MindMap, to understand the intentional evidenced-based interventions we have introduced to our course;
(3.) discuss an overall framework for evaluating our course, using various sources of data: assessments, end-of-semester course evaluations, pre-/postsurveys (including responses paired for individual students), and follow-up surveys for students months to years after completing our course;
(4.) review the training materials we have developed to introduce students to skills such as experimental design and chalk talks (including sample experimental design "open-ended" questions, exemplary videos of "good" and "great" responses to this question prompt, annotations to the positives of these videos, and, very importantly the grading rubric we have developed;
(5.) observe and discuss select results demonstrating significant growth in our students' self-reported learning gains using instruments such as course evaluations, pre/postsurveys, and follow-up surveys;
(6.) observe and discuss select steps in our process and the results of analyzing >400 rubrics to measure changes in student learning gains from the chalk talk exercise;
(7.) learn about our application of the principles of measuring interrater reliability to assess the quality of the data we have on rubrics which were scored by multiple different TAs trained on how to effectively use the rubric.

This presentation ends with a discussion of our future directions, including the development of additional tools to train students on the "art of the chalk talk."
Measure Your Success! Evaluation of New Intervention Strategies in Training Programs
Nancy Schwartz, University of Chicago
Nicquet Blake, University of Texas HSC
Patricia Cameron, Augusta University
Victoria Freedman, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
 
 
Abstract: There are many ongoing interventions designed to increase diversity within the biomedical science workforce. Most training programs measure their achievement of this goal using quantitative metrics (i.e., grades, publications, awards, etc.). However, these metrics are insufficient to assess the complex interplay of internal and external factors integral to student and program success. Increasingly, training programs are encouraged to consider multiple components including psychosocial factors (Williams, et al, 2017), institutional structures (Puritty, et al, 2017), and skill acquisition (Verderame, et al, 2018), all of which are necessary for student success.

Currently, there is no comprehensive. evidence-based evaluation strategy to assess the impact of these elements on training outcomes. In this session, presenters will provide an overview of two evaluation approaches: a process-based logic model and a competency-based framework (Verderame, 2018). In the breakout sessions, participants will use the information provided to work collaboratively to identify measurable outcomes for the following essential features of successful interventions: i.) students: skill-acquisition and professional development activities; ii.) faculty: mentoring activities that impact trainee efficacy in achieving academic milestones, and iii.) institutions: broadly based activities designed to ensure equivalence and sustainability across all training programs. Using the suggested metrics, participants will then develop sample evaluation plans designed to test the success of interventions in their own training programs.
The Evolution of a Holistic Model to Promoting the Success of African Americans in Undergraduate Biology
Angela White, North Carolina A&T State University
Cailisha Petty, North Carolina A&T State University
Checo Rorie, North Carolina A&T State Univ
Catherine White, North Carolina A&T State University
 
 
Abstract: The persistent problem of retaining underrepresented minority (URM) students in STEM continues to be a national priority after several decades of attention. The role of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in addressing this challenge cannot be overstated, given their history in producing African American STEM graduates. To overcome the multiple challenges that impede retention and persistence to degree completion in biology, the Department of Biology at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University adopted a major cultural shift in its advising strategy. The evidence-based approach encompasses a Life Mapping and Advising Model that builds faculty-student relationships and engages both parties effectively in the process. The model was conceptualized based on the following theories: Social Cognitive Theory, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Sense of Belonging, Continuum of Community, Theory of Departure, Erickson's Stages of Development, Chickering's Theory of Identity, and Intrusive Advising Model. The model includes six important pillars to drive student success: (1) dedicated advising space, the Life Mapping and Advising Center (LMAC), (2) effective advisors, (3) integrated peer mentor and peer tutoring programs, (4) an intrusive advising strategy, (5) integration with first-year student success courses, and (6) life coaching. Since the implementation of the model in 2016, the retention rate of first-time, full-time freshmen has increased from 71.1% to 80%. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the department's model has evolved into a virtual experience with plans to implement a hybrid version of the model during the 2021-22 school year.

The approach implemented in our LMAC is situated within a transformative/participatory framework. This was an appropriate worldview to explore the efficacy of the LMAC model because we sought to understand the impact that the LMAC strategy would have on the academic performance and social development of our students; therefore, we actively engaged with the students who were impacted by our LMAC approach. In order to determine the effectiveness of this model we employed a mixed methods exploratory sequential (QUANT → qual) approach. This methodology allowed us to capture richer data related to the expected outcomes: increasing student satisfaction with academic advising, increasing underclassmen's sense of belonging, promoting scientific self-efficacy, motivation to learn science, and self-regulated learning skills. Finally, we aimed to increase retention, progression, and graduation of our majors. Through the analysis of data on existing students we identified reliable success predictors, students who are on probation/suspension/dismissal, and courses that are barriers to student progression through the curriculum. We administered various assessments such as the Biology Self-Efficacy Scale and the Motivation Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), the Academic Advising Satisfaction Inventory (AAI), and student focus groups. Faculty feedback was utilized to further enhance the model. An internal tracking system documents the quantity and quality of faculty-student and peer-peer interactions.

Workshop Objectives:
1.Participants will assess the existing advising structure within their departments and determine ways to leverage strengths and address weaknesses.
2.Participants will be able to draw from the LMAC framework to create an advising model that best fits their department and students.
3.Participants will be able to develop a degree audit or similar tool that allows students and faculty to have a real-time awareness of progress towards degree.
3:45 PM - 5:00 PM: Poster Sessions
Creating STEAM Student Led Learning Experiences Rooted in Justice and Identity
Jacob Adams, STEM to the Future
 
 
Abstract: Time has long passed for Black and Latinx elementary youth to be seen as scientists, designers, community planners, and activists. The opportunity for them to be seen as such is rare and when it is afforded to Black and Latinx youth, it is almost exclusively for high school youth. At STEM to the Future, we start this process with elementary youth showing them that age isn't a prerequisite for creating change. In the summer of 2020, we piloted our Brick by Brick programs, which are student-led initiatives where the students work together to decide on and execute their own projects in the community. They are guided through the process of (1) creating a clear vision for the world they want and deserve and (2) using STEAM to develop projects that support their vision, and (3) connecting with the community and grassroots organizations to implement the projects.Brick by Brick creates a space for students to collaborate with each other and with the community to use STEAM to solve real problems, which they identify themselves in collaboration with the community. Our assumption is students will be more likely to be invested in their communities as they mature if they see the meaningful change they are able to create in their neighborhoods at a young age. We're cultivating our youth so that are able to appropriate technology and use in the fight for their freedom. You'll see how girls and non-binary youth in our Build'Em Up Robotics program used coding and robotics to deliver PPE to elders in their communities and see how students in our Building Healthy Communities program are testing different ways to bring food justice to South Central, Los Angeles.
Education should be reflective of the world that you live in and seeks to support you in addressing injustice


In this early phase of Brick by Brick, 100% of students have worked on at least 3 new STEAM skills, collaborated with others on decision-making in a democratic and meaningful way, and identified more than one community need based on research.

After hearing about our approach to creating student led learning experiences rooted in justice and STEAM formal educators, informal educators and researchers will brainstorm and workshop ideas for how to integrate this liberatory approach into their practice. Attendees will focus on centering their students' feelings and expertise, recreating power dynamics within the classroom in service of our youth, learn and share strategies for helping their class build connections with one another and their community. Additionally, attendees will walk away with a guide and community to support them as they create educational experiences that are reflective of the world that their students want to live in and builds students' confidence in addressing injustice.
Psychosocial Impacts of COVID-19 and Racial Injustice on Undergraduate Summer Research Experience Trainees
Erin Arruda, California State University, Long Beach
Kristine Yada, California State University, Long Beach
Nada Rayyes, California State University, Long Beach
Araceli Gonzalez, California State University, Long Beach
Young-Hee Cho, California State University, Long Beach
Chi-Ah Chun, California State University, Long Beach
 
 
Abstract: Abstract
Introduction. The COVID-19 pandemic that began in Spring 2020 and the subsequent period of social unrest due to police brutality against Black Americans and racial injustice have posed profound challenges to college students and academic programs across the U.S. Summer research experiences (SREs) were challenged to quickly pivot research training curricula and activities to a virtual format while ramping up activities that would bolster support and safety networks for student trainees, many of whom were socially isolated, fearful of the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones, while worried about the uncertainty of their academic future. This study investigates the nature of the concerns and worries that undergraduate trainees experienced during the tumultuous summer of 2020 and what program factors, if any, were able to potentially mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and racial injustice on these concerns. Specifically, this study evaluates basic needs, mental health, and academic concerns in the context of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded SRE, examining how student concerns and their relationship to program factors vary by demographic and academic characteristics.

Methods. Forty-five undergraduate trainees participated in a NIH-funded 8-week summer research training program in 2020 (64% female; 67% Under-Represented Minority [URM] students) and completed an online post-survey. Items assessed student perceptions of the virtual SRE, program activities, student experiences related to COVID-19 (Latkin & Dayton, 2020), and impacts of the racial strife and related social justice activism. Closed-ended, Likert scale-type items assessed students' time management skills and sense of belonging. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) established four outcome domains: students' personal needs concerns (α=.90), stress and mental health concerns (α=.89), academic concerns (α=.83) and impacts of anti-Black racism (single item measure). Independent t-tests (correlations) assessed differences (relationships) of student concerns by demographics and key variables of interest. Due to the paucity of research on these topics and exploratory nature of our questions, an alpha of .10 was selected.

Results. Intercorrelations revealed that the outcomes were moderately related, yet distinct (rs = .24, -.56). Students were somewhat concerned about their personal needs (M = 2.05, SD = 0.81), very concerned about their stress and mental health (M = 2.79, SD = 0.80), and extremely concerned about their academics (M = 3.90, SD = 0.88). In addition, anti-Black racism, and society's response to it, impacted students to a moderate extent (M = 3.60, SD = 1.10). Students who received financial aid and transferred from a two-year institution had higher personal concerns than those who did not (ps = .001, .030, ds = 0.86, 0.71). Additionally, URM students indicated higher personal needs concerns than non-URM students (p = .093; d = 0.54). Mental health concerns differed by gender such that women reported greater mental health concerns than men (p = .098, d = 0.52). Biomedical majors had higher academic concerns than behavioral majors (p = .056; d = 0.58). Students indicating poverty experienced higher anti-Black racism impacts than those that did not (p = .099, d = 0.62).
Students who felt stronger relationships with research group members indicated lower stress/mental health concerns and academic concerns (rs = -.29, -.45; ps = .089, .007 respectively). Additionally, positive working relationships with training director(s) were negatively related to academic concerns (r = -.32, p = .040) such that higher quality of relationship was related to lower academic concerns. Feeling part of the SRE community was inversely related to personal needs concerns, academic concerns, and anti-Black racism impacts (rs =-.29,-.50,-.27; ps = .059, .001, .068), and feeling connected to members of the SRE community was also inversely related to both personal needs and academic concerns (rs = -.25,-.55; ps = .097, <.001). With respect to time management, meeting deadlines was inversely related to all outcomes. Students who were highly likely to meet deadlines and hand work in on time had lower personal needs concerns, stress/mental health concerns, academic concerns, and anti-Black racism impacts (rs = -.43, -.31, -.57, -.30; ps = .003, .042, <.001, .045). Students who indicated they were able to balance responsibilities (e.g., research, classes, school, home, family, friends) also indicated lower stress/mental health concerns and academic concerns (rs = -.34, -.63; ps = .022, < .001). On the other hand, students with lower prioritization skills and self-awareness of study habits had higher academic concerns (rs = -.37, -.26; ps = .013, .084).

Discussions and Conclusions. This study provides a snapshot of worries and concerns of undergraduate students who participated in a SRE during the summer of COVID-19 and racial unrest. As expected, SRE students experienced a wide range of concerns related to COVID and racial injustice, similar to students at other U.S institutions (e.g., Nelson et al., 2020). Results reinforce the need for academic programs like SREs to help mitigate student concerns across domains (basic needs, mental health and academic). SRE students who felt connected to their research groups and SRE program directors, as well as to the SRE community, fared better both personally and academically. While the cross-sectional nature renders the directional causality inconclusive, the associations underscore the importance of programs fostering a safe and supportive academic research environment to undergraduate trainees (e.g., Urlaub, 2020). As many programmatic modifications were made instantaneously in reaction to the societal factors such as the pandemic and social unrest, understanding the value of academic based support, as evidenced by this study, is critical. Future research in this area should focus on investigating the impact and effectiveness of specific program modifications.

Acknowledgements. This research was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers; UL1GM118979; TL4GM118980; RL5GM118978. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Star-Prep: An Innovative Holistic And Research-Based Immersion Program To Increase Under-Represented Minority Representation In Science And Medicine
Gregory Carey, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Bret Hassel, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Tonya Webb, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Toni Antalis, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Terry Rogers, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Leanne Simington, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Eduardo Davila, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Anschutz
Laundette Jones, University of Maryland School of Medicine
 
 
Abstract: Introduction: The proportions of African and Black and Hispanic and Latino Americans grew from 24.8 to 30.6% between the years 2000 and 2014 alone. This proportion is projected to increase further in the coming decades. Despite this population growth and urgent known and projected needs in biomedical research and healthcare workforce diversity, presently, under-represented students (UR) comprise only 11.5% of enrollees in PhD programs. Moreover, although UR medical school graduates comprised 11.8% of the total in 2010, alarmingly this already low percentage dropped to 10.3% in 2015. Lastly, of all MD-PhD program matriculants in 2017, only 9.9% were UR. To address this crisis, in 2016, University of Maryland Baltimore developed STAR-PREP (Science Training for Advancing Biomedical Research ((STAR)-PREP) to provide a year-long rigorous, immersive and supportive experience designed to build students in academic and research rigor and to both individually and holistically to engage in good emotional and mental health practices that will help them to thrive once they enroll in PhD and MD-PhD programs.
Methods: STAR-PREP was built on a cohort model whose premise was that providing support and intense academic and research preparation, built on an individualized student development plan (IDP) would prepare STAR-PREP Scholars who would be highly competitive to rise to high quality graduate programs. UR participant scholars were diverse and were competitively recruited from geographically diverse US locations and institutions. Institutional and familial resources were varied as well and scholars were selected based on assessed passion for research and demonstration of research commitment and potential. Incoming Scholars each received an individualized development plan (IDP), prepared collaboratively between each Scholar and mentor and STAR-PREP Leadership. In addition to sharpening lab and research skills and experiences (75% of program time), Scholars interacted with near peers and diverse mentors and mentees across the UMB campus and engaged in rigorous graduate courses, critical thinking, writing and presentation workshops, and were both presenters and attenders in research conferences (25% of program time). These intentional and rigorous writing and communication modules prepared the students for communication in their presentations, publications and ensuing graduate school applications and interviews. Furthermore, STAR-PREP Scholars added to and benefitted from UMB's innovatively developed pipeline and continuum and ecosystem of mentored research education programs and outreach activities on campus and with our partners, creating a strong sense of belonging. Moreover, outreach service as mentors in the pipelines and ecosystem and in the local community enhanced their sense of value in the form of giving back.
Results: In just 4 full academic years, 14 of 18 (77.8%) of STAR-PREP scholars engaging in the program have ascended to enrollment in strong PhD and MD-PhD programs. One (1) remains in training and 3 (16.7%) ascended to MD and MD-MS programs.
Conclusion: UM SOM's I3 approach: intensity, immersion and integration which underpin its STAR-PREP program, demonstrates a highly effective training model and approach to address the urgent and growing need for UR biomedical scientists and physician-scientists. This success was further enhanced by the Scholars' sense of belonging to UMB and its academic environment and, networking and service in the local and pipeline communities.
Understanding the Biology Scholars Program's Impact on UC Berkeley
Cristian Cervantes Aldana, University of California, San Francisco
Mica Estrada, University of California, San Francisco
John Matsui, University of California, Berkeley
 
 
Abstract: Introduction

The Biology Scholars Program ("BSP") is an equity and inclusion program at UC Berkeley that aims to support the success of historically underrepresented undergraduates in STEM. BSP has documented student success for over 28 years and continues to cultivate student growth and inclusivity at UC Berkeley for PEER and first-generation science students (Estrada et al., 2019). While UC Berkeley is highly renowned for its prestigious and rigorous academic programs, there still exists institutional barriers that disproportionately negatively affect historically underrepresented students' persistence (Ballen & Mason, 2017). We therefore sought to understand the impact and influence of the Biology Scholars Program on UC Berkeley. In particular, we wanted to understand its influence on members of the campus community (i.e., faculty, staff, and administrators) and its effect on the larger institution.

Methods

Data were collected via a brief one-time online survey in fall of 2020, which was distributed to participants using Qualtrics, a survey website. Participants were selected based on past attendance to BSP workshops and conferences between 2015 through 2020. Of 172 participants, 38% were staff, 35% faculty, 14% graduate students, 4% administrators and 9% "others" (i.e. alumni, postdocs, program directors). Over half of the sample self-reported as white (57%), hispanic/latinx (12%), black/african american (9%), filipino (3%), asian (3%), chinese (3%), vietnamese (2%), asian indian (2%), japanese (2%), american indian (1%), korean (1%), and declined to state (5%). Respondents self-identified as female (54%), male (34%), transgender (1%), nonbinary (2%), declined to state (1%), and did not answer (8%). The majority of respondents were between 30 - 50 years old.

Results

The results from the one-time survey provides robust descriptive data to increase understanding of how BSP has impacted UC Berkeley. The first set of questions assessed participants' familiarity with BSP. The data show that over half of participants had experience interacting with members of the BSP community (e.g., BSP faculty and staff [68%] or BSP students [83%]). A subset of questions was dedicated to understanding participants' knowledge of BSP. In terms of correct responses, participants scored relatively high on 5 sections: selection of students (86%), treatment of students (73%), goals of BSP (85%), who participates in the program (65%) and criteria for student success (85%). These data show that participants understand how BSP functions or "works." With respect to BSP's influence on UC Berkeley members, the category most frequently selected by faculty, staff, and administrators was "mentoring" in relation to 1) influence in their own work (28%) and 2) student persistence in STEM (16%). Importantly, 81% of participants agreed that BSP has influenced the minds of UC Berkeley faculty, staff and administrations about growing student talent instead of selecting for it; a key principle of BSP.

The Biology Scholars Program was also reported to provide a model of how to create a safe and positive environment for UC Berkeley students. In fact, 97% of participants agreed that BSP's scholars created positive "ripple" effects into UC Berkeley and 90% agreed that BSP's Inclusive Excellence Communities of Practice also created positive "ripple" effects into UC Berkeley. A number of questions were also asked about BSP's influence. Seventy-seven percent of participants reported that BSP's presence on campus changed UC Berkeley. More to this point, the program was also reported to have positively influenced perceptions of equity (75%), inclusion (81%) and bias reduction (77%). Lastly, an open-ended question asked participants to describe BSP's greatest impact on UC Berkeley and the top two most frequent descriptions were modeling how to be supportive (19%) and creating a sense of belonging or community (17%) for students.

Conclusions and Discussion

The results of this study provide insight into the experiences and perceptions of faculty, staff and administrators with BSP and its impact on UC Berkeley. Overall, results showed that the Biology Scholars Program has had a positive effect on the members of the UC Berkeley community by modelling successful mentorship, and creation of contexts that provide support, inclusivity and equity for students who develop (rather than arrive with) the skills and preparation necessary to thrive in scientific disciplines. On a larger scale, BSP has had a "ripple" like effect on UC Berkeley, influencing not only individual members of the university, but other programs on campus, that seek to adapt the BSP model to other disciplines. How these "ripples" might extend to other universities is a topic of interest and future research.

Acknowledgments

The present research was supported by a grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute ("HHMI") (Internal ID: 25087). We thank Missy Soto and Brook Yu for their contributions to this research.
Reflections on CSULB BUILD Program Response to COVID-19 and Racial Injustice: A Descriptive Case Study
Keisha Chin Goosby, California State University, Long Beach
Araceli Gonzalez, California State University, Long Beach
Kristine Yada, California State University, Long Beach
Jesse Dillon, California State University, Long Beach
 
 
Abstract: Reflections on CSULB BUILD Program Response to COVID-19 and Racial Injustice:

A Descriptive Case Study

Keisha Chin Goosby 1, Araceli Gonzalez 1, Kristine Yada 1, Jesse Dillon 1

1California State University Long Beach (CSULB), Long Beach, CA, 90840

Email: [email protected]

Keywords: COVID-19, racial injustice, research program, challenges, modifications, program directors

Abstract

BUILD (BUilding Infrastructure Leading to Diversity) is a NIH-funded program aimed to promote diversity in the biomedical and behavioral sciences by engaging and retaining undergraduate students of diverse backgrounds in health-related research. New and returning undergraduates (N = 40) in the one to two-year research program participate in a Summer Undergraduate Research Gateway to Excellence (SURGE) program for eight weeks in three cohorts. The goal of SURGE for students new to the program (junior "Year 1 Scholars" and senior "Fellows") is to help trainees to develop cohesive cohorts, to acclimate them to their research environment and faculty mentor's research, and to develop their science identity and sense of belonging as a researcher; and for returning students ("Year 2 Scholars") is to prepare them for applying to graduate programs in the fall. SURGE is led by doctoral level University staff and faculty as well as Graduate Mentors (Master's students). From 2014-2019, SURGE was an in-person once or twice weekly experience. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic coincided with ongoing racial injustice which impacted students and the personnel who work with them (Lederer et al., 2020). The program's training team immediately pivoted to address the challenges that the pandemic and racial injustice produced. The resulting intervention took the form of multiple modifications to the SURGE program.

The primary purpose of this descriptive case study is to describe the modifications while another team of researchers will present outcomes in a companion submission (See Psychosocial impacts of COVID-19 and racial injustice on undergraduate summer research experience trainees). The case study will provide background information on the program, its participants, and the SURGE model that preceded the pandemic and the heightening of racial injustice. Next it will present the problem by outlining the challenges which emerged simultaneously for students (e.g., personal loss, loss of sense of community, financial and emotional stress, academic and personal uncertainty) and the program (e.g., lack of research availability, loss of family involvement in BUILD, technology issues). To address those challenges, program personnel made significant modifications to SURGE that included adapting SURGE content to virtual format, adding new culturally sustaining activities, facilitating safe space discussions, selecting student representatives for weekly feedback, developing alternative research activities for students whose research was halted, and others (Kreiger, 2020). The authors argue that the program modifications became the intervention for supporting students during a pandemic and time of ongoing racial injustice.

Our presentation will describe the modifications and detail the methods (steps) we took to implement them, during a period of persistent personal and programmatic uncertainty and upheaval. Discussion will include lessons learned such as the importance of developing contingent plans for the future, centering student voices when faced with unprecedented challenges, continued use of virtual and/or hybrid program delivery, and developing a sense of community for students in virtual settings. Lessons learned will inform recommendations for those who work with undergraduates from diverse backgrounds, along with reflections about ongoing challenges, areas for improvement, and additional questions that program personnel need to consider.
Promoting Academic Success of Economically Disadvantaged, STEM-Interested, First- and Second-Year Undergraduate Students via the ACCESS in STEM Program at University of Washington Tacoma
Erica Cline, University of Washington Tacoma
Elin Bj?rling, University of Washington
Emily Cilli-Turner, University of La Verne, CA
Joyce Dinglasan-Panlilio, University of Washington Tacoma
Jutta Heller, University of Washington Tacoma
Edward Kolodziej, University of Washington Tacoma
Annie Camey Kuo, Stanford University
Marc Nahmani, University of Washington Tacoma
Amanda Sesko, University of Washington Tacoma
Mary Pat Wenderoth, University of Washington Seattle
Ka Yee Yeung, University of Washington Tacoma
 
 
Abstract: Introduction

We are facing a national challenge of low retention rates for STEM-interested students. At the University of Washington Tacoma (UWT), a public, predominantly undergraduate, minority-serving institution (Asian-American, Native American, Pacific Islander, AANAPISI), only 28% of high achieving (high school GPA>3.0), STEM-interested at entry, Pell-eligible, first-time-in-college (FTIC) students undergraduates have entered a STEM major by the beginning of their 2nd yr, and the proportion is significantly lower for PEERs (persons excluded from STEM due to ethnicity or race [Asai, 2020]) at only 16%, representing a substantial equity gap. To address this problem, we developed the Achieving Change in our Communities for Equity and Student Success (ACCESS) in STEM Program. Supported by an NSF S-STEM grant since 2018, the program supports low-income, STEM-interested students by providing focused mentoring, a living learning community, a course-based research experience in their first year, and scholarships in their first two years of college. Based on the Student Persistence model of Graham et al. (2013), we hypothesized that these interventions would increase retention, academic performance, and progress into and through STEM majors. Our approach builds upon existing research demonstrating the importance of early research experiences (Thiry et al., 2012) and intensive mentoring and community building, particularly in the context of AANAPISI institutions (Nguyen et al., 2018).

Methods

Quarterly and cumulative GPA and enrollment status were obtained from registrar data for program participants (N=22) and a comparison group of students who met eligibility requirements (e.g., FTIC, STEM interest at entry, Pell-eligible, and high school GPA > 3.0) but did not participate in the program (N=96). We assessed course grades in individual STEM courses for program participants and for students from the comparison group who consented to be part of the research study (N=16) and were closely matched to participant demographics.

Results

In the first three years, the program supported 44 students. Of these, 59% were female, 74% First Gen, 8% dependents of veterans, and 33% identified as PEERs. In all, 90% held at least one minoritized identity in addition to low-income status. For program participants, first year cumulative GPA was significantly greater, at 3.44 vs. 3.07 (p=0.027), and second year cumulative GPA was 3.57 vs. 3.09 (p=0.032) for other eligible students. At the start of their 2nd year, 35% of program participants had entered a STEM major, vs. 27% of other eligible students. The program did not have a significant effect on first year retention, which was 78% for program participants vs. 82% for other eligible students, but most of the participants who left UWT did so to pursue STEM degrees not available at UWT and were retained in college; in some cases, they reported that mentoring greatly helped them to pursue their new discipline.

Conclusions and Discussion

These results suggest that programs that provide scholarship support and intensive mentoring coupled with opportunities for a living learning community and early research experiences may promote academic performance and entry into STEM majors for economically disadvantaged, first- and second-year STEM-interested students. This may be of particular interest to other AANAPISI institutions, as there are relatively few published studies within this particular context (Nguyen et al. 2018). In future work, we will analyze student responses to on-going longitudinal surveys and focus group interviews to gain greater insight into how the program impacts our students. We will also explore how the ACCESS program contributes synergistically to ongoing institutional change initiatives on our campus promoting faculty development to build capacity for creating equitable and inclusive environments for our students.

Acknowledgments

This program was supported by NSF S-STEM, DUE, Award #1741595. KYY has equity interest in and is employed by Biodepot LLC. This has been reviewed and approved by UW in accordance with its policies governing outside work and financial conflicts of interest.
Examining the Impact of the BUilding Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative on Academic and Researcher Self-Efficacy among First Year Students
Krystle Cobian, UCLA
Shujin Zhong
Lourdes Guerrero
 
 
Abstract: Introduction
Stemming from Albert Bandura's work on self-efficacy (1977) and later work on social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1991), self-efficacy was developed to explain how people think, motivate themselves, and ultimately how they behave — including how long they will persist in the face of obstacles or challenging situations (Bandura & Adams, 1977). Research on self-efficacy has examined relationships between students' beliefs about their abilities and their resulting academic achievement (Chemers, Hu, & Garcia, 2001; Honicke & Broadbent, 2016) as well as their career options (Byars & Hackett, 1998; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000)

When considering the impact of self-efficacy for students with scientific career aspirations, especially for underrepresented and disadvantaged groups in the biomedical sciences, the literature suggests that self-efficacy is both an outcome of efforts to support students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) (Carpi et al., 2017) as well as a driver of future behaviors, such as increasing aspirations for a STEM career (Amelink et al., 2015). Also important to note is that self-efficacy can differ by social identities such as gender, race, and socioeconomic status (MacPhee, Farro, & Canetto, 2013).




Self-efficacy must be domain-specific, meaning that an individual's perception of self-efficacy will vary across specific spheres of activities. For example, academic self-efficacy is one's conviction in being able to successfully perform a given academic-related task at a designated level (Schunk, 1991). For this study, we examine science self-efficacy as a researcher in order to understand what pre-college characteristics and freshmen experiences might impact self-efficacy in the domain of science skills. A student who experiences high academic self-efficacy in an introductory STEM course, for example, may have a low self-efficacy perception of their skills in a research lab, which requires different competencies compared to learning scientific theories and concepts in a classroom setting. Thus, while academic self-efficacy and science identity have been studied with respect to STEM outcomes, little is known about how one develops self-efficacy regarding science and research skills.

The BUILD programs are designed to explore the most effective ways to engage students from underrepresented backgrounds in biomedical research, helping them progress on the pathway to become potential future contributors to the NIH-funded research enterprise. Given the research on scientific self-efficacy and its connection to degree completion and career interests, we explore how involvement in the BUILD program relates to changes in students' academic self-efficacy after they participated in the BUILD scholar program during their first year in college.

Research Question
Does participation in the BUILD scholar program during freshman year impact students' scientific self-efficacy?

Methods
Sample
Data are derived from the Higher Education Research Institute's Freshman Survey (TFS) and the DPC Student Annual Follow-Up Survey (SAFS). The sample consists of students at 4 BUILD institutions that had first-year BUILD programming and thus enrolled students into BUILD prior to, or at the beginning of their first academic year of college. Incoming freshmen completed the TFS before the fall of their first year and the SAFS during the spring of their first year. We assume that students' action of taking both surveys is random, and the missingness in the datasets is also due to randomness.

Matching
The sample consists of three cohorts (2016-2018) of first-year BUILD students, each of whom was matched with 2 of their non-BUILD peers, due to the fact that there were a lot more students in the control group (108 students in the treated group vs. around 20,000 students in the control group). We firstly extracted students who were BUILD scholars and


had records of taking both TFS and SAFS. We identified 108 students from the 4 BUILD primary sites, and employed a two-step matching procedure using exact matching to ensure that we include students from the targeted institutions and cohorts, and using propensity score matching for baseline covariates: gender (SEX), race/ethnicity (RACEGROUP), pell-grant status (Pell), first generation status (firstg), high school GPA (HSGPA), and years of mathematics courses taken during high school (YRSTDY2). The summary of balance of the pre-propensity score matching data is reported in Table 1.



For the propensity score matching, we identified 2 control units per 1 treated unit through nearest neighbor matching without replacement, estimated with logistic regression. After matching, we obtained a relatively balanced sample in the treated and the control groups (see Table 1 vs. Table 2, and Figure 2). The improvement of balance can be reflected from the reduced standardized mean differences and the reduced differences in the empirical cumulative density function between the treated and control groups.







Regression Analysis
We used the matched sample to perform regression analyses to see if, after controlling for covariates, the BUILD scholar program would be significantly influential in predicting science self-efficacy. We designed a time series model and defined students' science self-efficacy at time point t as our dependent variable.

The dependent variable is scientific self-efficacy as a researcher, conceptualized as the science self-efficacy construct on both the TFS and SAFS. Science self-efficacy is a measure of students' confidence in their ability to conduct scientific research. The original construct developed by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) consists of 10 items that asked participants about their perceptions to engage in various scientific skills. For this longitudinal study, the number of items in the construct was reduced to six items. The set of questions in the surveys asked students how confident they felt with the following science skills: using technical science skills, generating a research question, determining how to collect appropriate data, explaining the results of a study, using scientific literature to guide research, and integrating results from multiple studies.

The variable is quantified using students' expected-a-posterior (EAP) item response scores of six items in the surveys, and can be treated as a continuous variable. The scores are centered and scaled at N(50, 10). The intervention indicator is whether or not a student was in the BUILD scholar program between the time they took the TFS and SAFS. Based

on related literature, covariates we plan to include in this study are gender, race/ethnicity, pell-grant status, first-gen status, high school GPA, years of match training in high school, students' lab experience, conference participation, and faculty mentoring. Since there were multiple survey items related to faculty mentoring, we selected the following five items and computed EAP scares for each observation in the whole dataset: faculty showed concern about students' progress, faculty empower student to learn here, faculty believe in student's potential to succeed academically, faculty encouraged student to meet with them outside of class, and at least one faculty member has taken interest in student's development.


Results

We designed a time series model and defined students' scientific self-efficacy at time point t as our dependent variable. The basic model is similar to a pair-wised t-test, controlling for the grouping differences. Table 3 shows the results of the time series basic model. As time went by, students' scientific self-efficacy would decrease, the BUILD scholars' science self-efficacy tended to keep growing. The intra-class correlation (ICC) of the within person (case) random effect is 0.432, which indicates the necessity of including the random effect, or the variance contributed by individual differences (one's post-survey result only comparing with their own pre-survey measures).



Building on the basic model, we added students' background-related covariates: reported major (variable Major, coded as 0-non-biomedical related majors, 1-biomedical social science majors, and 2-biomedical natural science majors), high school GPA, gender, race/ethnicity, pell-grant eligibility, first generation college student status, and years of math training in high school. The results are reported in Table 4. The results show

consistent effects of time and the BUILD scholar intervention. In addition, we observe that majors, especially students who are in the biomedical natural science majors (Major2 in Table 4), compared to non-biomedical majors tend to have higher science self-efficacy. Those who had higher GPAs in high school (HSGPA) also tended to have higher scientific self-efficacy. On the other hand, women (variable SEX), students who self-identified as Latina/x/o (RACEGROUP4), and who were first generation college students (firstg) appear to be less likely to have a high scientific self-efficacy at the end of their first year in college. The variance of the random effect reduced in this model, but the ICC remained around 40%, which was still large enough to be kept in the model.



We then added students' college conference experience (DCONF), lab research experience (DGRNOP) and the faculty mentoring construct (Mentoring) as covariates into the model.

The results were similar to the previous model, and in addition, showed that the faculty mentoring was positively correlated with the scientific self-efficacy. With this model, we performed sensitivity analysis, and our preliminary results indicate that even under the condition that there exists any strong confounders, the intervention effect still holds to be strong and positive (Figure 3).








Conclusions and Discussion

Overall, preliminary findings suggest that the participation in the BUILD scholar intervention during students' first semester in college has a positive impact on science self-efficacy. In addition to the observed intervention effect, we also noticed that students' science self-efficacy tends to reduce as they progress in college. Some pre-college characteristics matter, as we found that students with higher high school GPAs are more likely to have higher science self-efficacy at the end of their first year of college. Women students, students who identified as Latino/a, and first generation college students tend to be less likely to have high scientific self-efficacy.

With respect to college aspirations and first-year experiences, students who are biomedical natural science majors, and students who receive more positive faculty mentoring tend to have higher scientific self-efficacy. These findings suggested that the BUILD scholar program is likely to be effective, especially to students in biomedical science majors, in enhancing one's beliefs in their ability to engage in various scientific behaviors. Additionally, findings suggest that underrepresented groups, such as women, Latina/x/o students, and first generation college students, may still need additional support to foster their science self-efficacy.

Since this study examined a cohort of BUILD students and non-BUILD students with matching baseline characteristics to determine the impacts of science self-efficacy during the first year of college, future research can focus on understanding how science self-efficacy changes over a longer period of time. The analytical models are designed to fit future time series analyses to track long-term effects of the BUILD programs. Future research can also examine the role of faculty, graduate students, and peer mentors in

fostering science self-efficacy for undergraduate proteges.

Acknowledgments
Work reported in this publication was supported by the National Institutes of Health Common Fund and Office of Scientific Workforce Diversity (USA) by U54GM119024 and U54GM119024-03-S1 administered by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).
Mentoring Deaf and Hard of Hearing Scientists: Lessons Learned from COVID and Beyond
Jessica Contreras, Rochester Institute of Technology
Tiffany Panko, Rochester Institute of Technology
Jason Nordhaus, Rochester Institute of Technology
Peter Hauser, Rochester Institute of Technology
Elaine Smolock, University of Rochester
Patricia White, University of Rochester
Steven L. Barnett, University of Rochester
M. Diane Clark, Lamar University
 
 
Abstract: Introduction
Rochester Bridges to the Doctorate (Bridges) for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) students is a joint program between Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the University of Rochester (UR) that has been funded by the NIH since 2013. With its access to higher education at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at RIT (RIT/NTID), Rochester is considered one of the best communities supportive of Deaf culture (Holcomb, 2013), creating an ecological niche and a welcoming cognitive environment (Hutchins, 2019) for a growing community of D/HH scholars and for our Bridges trainees.

Bridges' activities focus on mentoring D/HH scholars in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. Since the start of our program, we have been working towards disseminating our unique mentoring model through rigorous program assessment. As such, we invited an external program evaluator to assess our program in the following areas.

RQ1: What Bridges program activities best support our scholars?
RQ2: What is the constructive feedback from relevant stakeholders?
RQ3: What is the impact of Bridges program on scholarly output measured in presentations and publications?

Methods
The external evaluator reviewed materials and attended sessions with students to assess activities. Constructive feedback was gathered from one-on-one interviews conducted through Zoom with relevant stakeholders: scholars, Bridges program mentors, and research mentors. To evaluate scholarly output, an email was sent to all Bridges scholars asking for their current curriculum vitae. An aggregate of scholar presentations and publications was created to quantify their scholarly output.

Results
RQ1. Interestingly, scholars had differing views of the practices that were most effective in supporting them. About one-half of the scholars felt that the mentoring and program activities allowed them to complete their masters' degrees and move on into PhD programs. In contrast, about one-half of the scholars felt that the program would better support them if it was "more individualized".

RQ2. An email was sent to all affiliated stakeholders, including 7 scholars and 5 affiliated mentors who were then interviewed virtually. Given COVID 19, the first-year scholars had not yet met face to face or worked in the lab. All had ongoing projects and were preparing for virtual presentations. Mentors had been creative in meeting with scholars and providing research experiences.

RQ3. Bridges is currently training 4 scholars and has graduated 13 alumni. Of those alumni, 5 are currently in doctoral programs and 1 has received a PhD. Scholars combined have completed 135 presentations and 24 publications. Of note, two of the Bridges mentors have published articles about deaf students involved in non-signing research labs to guide others on how to integrate DHH students into their own labs and developing a lexicon of signs for organic chemistry (Clark et al., 2021; Gehret et al., 2021). The Bridges team has also produced a manual for other universities: Best Practices for D/HH in Graduate programs.

Discussion
In evaluating several projects at RIT over the years, it has become increasingly clear that Rochester has become a hub for D/HH STEM research. The unique collaborations between RIT/NTID and UR have changed the culture at both universities. Hearing faculty are more aware of the intellectual contributions that D/HH researchers can make and actively recruit D/HH students into their research labs. More D/HH and hearing scholars are comfortable interacting with each other, again contributing to this ecological niche. The Bridges activities have increased the number of D/HH STEM PhDs, the number of D/HH scholars who are contributing to our knowledge, as well as created a need to develop more academic STEM ASL signs. This type of research agenda will inform STEM scientists how also to create these hubs and increase D/HH individuals within the biomedical sciences.
Using Three-Dimensional Simulations to Support Spatial Thinking About Electric Fields
Candice Etson, Wesleyan University
Tommy Whelan
Heather Burte
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. Effective instruction of Gauss's Law is extremely important because it has many applications in electrostatics. Perhaps more importantly, Gauss's Law is a major component of the curriculum for gateway courses in which students decide if physics is the right area of study for them. In general, novice students have difficulty understanding and properly applying Gauss's Law, and those with weaker spatial reasoning skills may face additional challenges as they struggle to visualize the relevant electric field symmetries (Pepper et al., 2012). There is some evidence that, on average, women have weaker spatial reasoning skills than men. Likewise, access to certain types of early life educational experiences may also impact spatial reasoning skills later in life (Uttal et al., 2012). Therefore, supporting students learning about Gauss's Law by tailoring instruction to support spatial thinking could have a positive impact on the retention of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM. The present study proposes a new pedagogical tool to support students that struggle to visualize electric fields. Namely, we created a coherent tutorial utilizing interactive three-dimensional electric field simulations to teach students about electric field strength and direction.

Methods. Starting from a previously published tutorial that approached the topic of electric field symmetry from a more traditional perspective (Li & Singh, 2017), we developed a simulation-augmented tutorial covering the same material. The traditional tutorial relied on students' ability to perform vector addition and to visualize the results to answer questions about vector fields. The simulation-augmented tutorial was designed to support spatial thinking using a "guess and check" approach. After attempting to visualize the three-dimensional electric fields arising from a variety of charge distributions, students were able to view and interact with mathematically accurate simulated representations of those vector fields to see for themselves whether their mental images matched the simulations. We assessed student learning using the pre- and post-test that accompanied the published tutorial. Prior to taking the tutorial, all participants in the present study completed a demographics questionnaire, as well as a spatial reasoning assessment, the Paper Folding Test (Ekstrom et al., 1976). We used this data to separate participants into two groups that were roughly the same in composition with respect to gender, prior physics experience, and spatial reasoning ability. One group took the original tutorial, while the other group took our simulation-augmented tutorial.

Results. We found that the simulation-augmented tutorial was more effective than the traditional tutorial. Students who took the tutorial with simulations displayed larger improvements from pre- to post-test than those who took the traditional tutorial, and the Cohen's effect size was large (d = 0.98). A stepwise multivariate regression revealed that the strongest predictor of improvement from pre- to post-test was which version of the tutorial participants completed. We also found that there was a contribution from the interaction term between the tutorial version and the participants' paper folding test score. However, the most surprising result was the contribution of the interaction term between spatial ability and gender. We decided to further investigate this interaction by plotting improvement as a function of paper folding test score for each gender-tutorial combination (Figure 1). The lines of best fit suggest that, for female students, having weaker spatial thinking skills negatively impacted their ability to learn from the traditional tutorial. This effect was not seen with the simulation-based tutorial, nor was there a negative impact for male students with weaker spatial skills, regardless of the tutorial version. This result suggests that simulation-augmented tutorials may be especially helpful for female students with weaker spatial skills.

Conclusions and Discussion. Our results indicate that using simulations to support students in their spatial thinking about electric fields can be extremely helpful to students as they learn to apply Gauss's Law. Previous physics education research suggests that students struggle with Gauss's Law problems because: electric fields are not intuitive, students have trouble understanding the three-dimensional nature of electric fields, and students have difficulty recognizing symmetries in electric fields (Adrian & Fuller, 1997; Pepper et al., 2012; Singh, 2006). The simulation-augmented tutorial directly addresses these issues, as the simulations: help develop intuition, show electric fields in three dimensions, and allow students to explore symmetries of the field. While interventions such as simulations have been implemented in other STEM domains that require strong mental manipulation, no research before has investigated implementing manipulable three-dimensional simulations in the instruction electric fields. The success of this spatially targeted tutorial provides a first glimpse into the power of using simulations to help students overcome challenges in learning electrostatics. In addition, the strong interaction between gender and spatial reasoning ability with respect to learning gains further suggests that providing spatially targeted instruction to students in introductory STEM courses may also help achieve higher levels of persistence for members of underrepresented groups. Based on these findings, we are developing an entire Gauss's Law tutorial series that incorporates the use of simulations.
STEM Summer Scholars Institute: Engaging Academic Motivation and STEM Career Aspirations
Bianca Evans, Indiana University
 
 
Abstract: Recruiting, retaining, and graduating underrepresented students in STEM require targeted, comprehensive approaches, and welcoming, inclusive environments. With underrepresented students having a higher probability of leaving postsecondary education, summer research experiences increase understanding of how to conduct research, confidence in research skills, and awareness of what graduate school may be like (Seymour, Hunter, Laursen, & Deantoni, 2004; Lopatto, 2004; Bauer & Bennett, 2003). Although student gains and outcomes of summer research experiences have been well-discussed in the literature, systematic and empirical research to clarify the motivational factors, perceived drivers, and barriers of the processes of the research programs is limited (Adedokun, Bessenbacher, Parker, Kirkham, & Burgess, 2013; Cooper et al., 2019; Gardner, Forrester, Jeffrey, Ferzli, & Shea, 2015; Linnenbrink-Garcia et al., 2018).
The STEM Summer Scholars Institute (SSI) is part of an initiative to provide underrepresented students with an intensive eight-week STEM laboratory research experience and to enhance interest in attending graduate school. Program components include GRE preparation, career exploration, poster presentation skills, mentor-mentee relationship building, and other professional development activities. Utilizing a mixed-method approach, the purpose of this study is to understand how the STEM Summer Scholars Institute (STEM SSI) engages the educational experience of summer research, attracts and retains talented students to careers in science, and acts as a pathway for minority students into graduate programs. Participants from 14 institutions participated in an online survey on the benefits of the STEM SSI research experience.
The results include triangulation of quantitative and qualitative results to address the research question and draw conclusions relevant to undergraduate degree completion, graduate school program matriculation, and overall perceptions on the perceived impact of the STEM SSI in reaching those milestones. Since its inception in 2007, the STEM SSI has hosted 269 participants, with over 63% of them visiting from Minority Serving Institutions. 104 responded to the survey with a response rate of 55 %. The quantitative analysis of these scholars shows that 86% of the 104 respondents either completed or enrolled in a masters or PhD program in the sciences after obtaining an undergraduate degree from 2007-2017. A group of 11 students who discontinued their plans for postgraduate science education reported working in a STEM career. Four students work outside of a STEM-related area.
The qualitative component uses narrative analysis to examine student stories. Data analysis focused on identifying patterns and variations in responses. The findings are reported through the discussion of themes. The Expectancy-Value Theory framework was used to further analyze the findings of this study. The findings presented focus specifically on key aspects that students identified as being particularly valuable to them and which helped them to succeed academically and in their career. Three themes emerged from the data analysis. The themes include (1) Research Experiences Engage STEM Application, (2) Mentor-Mentee Relationships Guide STEM Confidence, and (3) Demystifying the Graduate School Process. The students described the importance of academic and social components at the institution and the sense of community built.
Based on the accomplishments reported by each of the respondents, the follow-up study indicates academic, professional, and personal success has resulted from participation in the STEM SSI program. Participants in the STEM SSI demonstrated improvements in numerous metrics including graduate school attendance and subsequent completion of PhDs in STEM fields or professional degrees. The findings of this study suggest that programs like STEM SSI and student support interventions should emphasize students' science identity development throughout their research experience, which may increase motivation to continue engaging in research. More research is necessary to explore the identity formation, values, and beliefs of STEM SSI participants and the role of summer research experiences on the science identity of students. Administrators and directors should carefully assess outcomes to ensure that their institutions provide the needed support that will enhance STEM motivation and retention.
Advancing Careers of Upper Level Students in the Life Sciences: The Case of a Minority Serving Institution
Janice Fournillier, Georgia State University
Natasha McClendon, Georgia State University
Suuazette Mooring, Georgia State University
William Boozer, Georgia State University
Susan Ogletree, Georgia State University
 
 
Abstract: This concurrent mixed methods study focused on the outcomes of the contribution of specific support structures to the development of targeted skills and the self-efficacy of under-represented students in Life Sciences at an urban research university with a strong commitment to diversity. The Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) model framed the design of the intervention and informed the study that asks: (1) Does: (a) scholarship support; (b) scholars' sense of self-efficacy in STEM programs; (c) outcome expectations for obtaining a STEM degree, and (d) experiences of support in college STEM contexts predict the STEM major student success? (2) What are the students' perceptions of the impact that their academic experiences, their sense of self-efficacy, and their outcome expectations for obtaining the STEM degrees have on their success in the program? According to the SCCT model (Lent et al, 1994), increases in self-efficacy are expected to have long-term impact on Scholars intent to persist in STEM careers.

Simple non-parametric statistical analysis was used to describe the characteristics of the members of various cohort groups. A survey with a retrospective pretest design collected end-of-year data from students in four domains: Science/STEM Identity, Lab Research Self-Efficacy, Scientific Communication Self-Efficacy, and Metacognitive Awareness (which had 8 subdomains). Results were analyzed using t-tests, and effect sizes were calculated. Their academic disposition and perceptions of their experiences were gathered using semi-structured individual interviews.
Ninety-eight percent of the 60 students have been retained and/or graduated in a STEM discipline. Of the 25 students who have graduated with BS degrees, 19 have gone on to MD programs, PhD programs or still working in a STEM field. One student recently received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Eight students continued in MS programs at the same institution and continue to receive financial and professional development support from S-STEM. On the quantitative survey, students reported growth to most or all items in each domain and subdomain, with the greatest growth reported in Scientific Communication Self-Efficacy, the students' perceptions of their ability to communicate effectively as scientists. The participants who completed the program participated in exit interviews over the past three years on the importance of the support the program provided. This support might have contributed to the growth in each domain and sub domain. The subthemes associated with "support" included personal relationships with mentors, boosts in confidence as STEM scholars, career guidance, preparation and practice for interviews, presentations, peer feedback, and financial support.
The size of the cohort groups limited the kind of analysis that could be done and so the findings are not generalizable but instead represent a case of one institution that might be transferred or translated to others. The support provided the students moved beyond counselling and instead paid attention to practical taken for granted skills and meeting the financial needs of the students who could then focus more on their academic outcomes. The confidence gained from the personal and scholarly supports and mentorship that were an integral aspect of the intervention might have allowed for continued interest in a career in STEM field. The students were not only performing well academically but also gaining the knowledge about possibilities available to them. The increase in the kinds of supports offered should demonstrate to institutions serving underrepresented students, who have extreme financial needs, that providing them with not only funding but also hands-on mentoring that is not just individualistic, but collaborative, can go a long way in making a difference in ensuring growth in specific skills, increased self-efficacy, graduation and retention in STEM fields.
AGEP NY-PUI Alliance: Challenges and Pathways to the Professoriate
Wesley Francillon, Suffolk County Community College
Candice Foley, Suffolk County Community College
Nina Leonhardt, Suffolk County Community College
 
 
Abstract: The goal of the NSF AGEP (Alliance for Graduate Education and Professoriate) NY-PUI Alliance is to advance the careers of underrepresented minority STEM Faculty at predominantly undergraduate institutions (PUIs) by developing, implementing, studying, institutionalizing, evaluating and disseminating a model focusing on career development for 22 historically underrepresented minority (URM) doctoral degree students in STEM, who want to transition into early career STEM faculty positions at PUIs, or enter postdoctoral STEM scholar positions and then transition into early career STEM faculty positions at PUIs. The project is being designed and developed through partnerships between a federally funded research laboratory (Brookhaven National Laboratory) and three State University of New York (SUNY) institutions: a research-intensive-institution (Stony Brook University), a community college (Suffolk County Community College) and a technical college of applied science (Farmingdale State College).

This presentation will highlight the NY-PUI Alliance model development, implementation, self-study, institutionalization, evaluation, and dissemination. Moreover, this work will discuss the key interventions that our Alliance is testing as we build our model: psychosocial STEM engagement (growth mindset and implicit bias workshops), professional network development, teaching mentorships, inclusive pedagogy, and building collaborations among national laboratories. The impact of mentors and program leads participation in pedagogy, mentor, growth mindset and implicit bias workshops will be discussed. These interventions are based on studies of self-identity/self-efficacy (Dweck, 2016: Clark, Dyar, Maung & London, 2016) and the value of mentoring and mentoring workshops (Gibbs et al., 2014; McGee & Delong, 2007). Additionally, this work will highlight preliminary data from our first cohort of graduate AGEP scholars, including mentor training and mentee experiences.
DNA Sequence Analysis Using GEDmatch as an Active Learning Intervention in an Online Biology Non-Majors Course.
Roberto Frontera-Suau, Elizabeth City State University
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. Active learning strategies have proven to encourage student engagement (Freeman et al. 2014), reduce achievement gaps and increase assessment scores in STEM courses (Freeman et al., 2007). However, the migration of courses to online during the Covid 19 pandemic presented unique challenges to faculty wishing to start or maintain active learning in their STEM courses. A Low Cost/High Impact active learning active learning intervention using DNA sequence analysis through a free access, web based, genealogical DNA database, was deployed in an asynchronous online Biology course. We expected this activity to result in increased student engagement and better scores in the DNA section assessments.
Methods. As a non-majors course, BIOL 100 is aimed at providing students with understanding of basic concepts of biology as they apply to their daily life. Each of 5 units contains an Active Learning section. Unit 2 focuses on genetic genealogy as a theme and covers the concepts of DNA structure, replication and sequencing. Students receive background information through video lectures, web tutorials and reading assignments. A student journal collects student's reflections as a unit wrap up. Student performance is assessed through a basic concept quiz consisting on multiple choice questions, rubric-graded discussion boards, and a DNA activity report.
Intervention. Students are prompted to click on the GEDMatch website (https://www.gedmatch.com/login1.php) and create a free account. Students are provided instructions and tutorials on how to utilize the One-to-One Autosomal Comparison web tool. DNA Sequence data is provided as Kit numbers. The web tool generates comparison data in the form of percentages of shared DNA as a color coded chromosome map indicating location and length of shared DNA.
Assessment. Data was collected from 6 sections of BIOL 100 (Summer 19 - Spring 21).Direct assessment data comes from student scores in Pre and Post tests, scores from the Unit 2 quiz, and results of the DNA Activity report. Indirect data comes from student journal reflections at the end of Unit 2 and from satisfaction surveys at the end of the course.
Results. Of the 137 students impacted, 82% completed the DNA Activity, and 87% of these obtained passing scores (70% or higher) in the DNA Activity Report. Pre and Post testing revealed an average overall score increase of 14 points. When looking at questions specifically assessing concepts covered in the DNA Sequencing activity, the scores increase from 35% to 47%. Average scores in Unit 2 Quiz, due before the DNA activity, were 22 out of 30 (73%). However, scores for the Midterm, that was due after the DNA Activity Report, were 38 out of 50 (76%). DNA structure and sequencing specific questions that appeared both in the Basic Concepts Quiz and in the Midterm show a 40% increase in correct answers after the DNA Activity Report was due.
Indirect measures of the intervention effectivity were collected in the form of student satisfaction surveys and/or student journal entries at the end of the Unit. In the student satisfaction surveys 44% of students identified the material on DNA and DNA sequencing as the most valuable thing they learned in the course, and 31% identified Unit 2 as their favorite unit in the course. Over 90% of the students that completed the journal entry for Unit 2 gave positive feedback on the Unit and the activity.
Conclusion. Introducing complex biological concepts such as DNA sequencing and analysis to a student population with no direct career interest in Biology is often a challenge. The intervention used in BIOL 100 has proven not only to increase student engagement, but also to increase student content knowledge. The main challenges reported by students was in the initial understanding of how to work with the GEDMatch web based tools. To minimize this challenge, we included step by step instructions using screen captures to illustrate the process.
Preliminary Impacts of Peer Mentoring on Low SES STEM Students and their Peer Mentors
Sheri Glowinski, Illinois Wesleyan University
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. That individuals of low socioeconomic status (SES) are underrepresented in STEM fields is a long-standing concern. Studies show that there are multiple factors that contribute to this deficit including inadequate academic preparation, insufficient financial support, lack of representative role models, lack of mentoring, and inadequate institutional strategies for fostering inclusion, among others (Allen-Ramdial & Campbell, 2014; Engle & Tinto, 2008; MacPhee, Farro, & Canetto, 2013). The NexSTEM Program, funded by a National Science Foundation multi-institution consortium S-STEM grant to Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU), Illinois State University (ISU), and Heartland Community College (HCC), aims to address these inequities by providing scholarships, early STEM research experiences, and multi-level mentoring for IWU, ISU, and HCC STEM majors who demonstrate academic potential and significant financial need. Peer mentoring aims to provide these NexSTEM scholars (scholars) social and academic adjustment to college, and leadership development and community for peer mentors (PMs). This study examines the preliminary impacts of peer mentoring on scholars and PMs.

Methods. Scholars participated in required peer mentoring during the 2020-2021 academic year. PMs were 2nd or 3rd year IWU and ISU STEM majors who demonstrated strong academics, campus engagement, and appreciation for working with younger students; were hired at their respective institutions; and participated in training. Each scholar was paired with a PM who, when possible, was in a related academic field at their college (or at ISU or IWU if HCC scholar). Due to constraints related to COVID-19, scholar-PM pairs met virtually each week to discuss assigned activities and had flexibility to determine non-assigned activities.

In March, 2021, scholars completed the required NexSTEM Scholar Experience Survey which included a subset of peer mentoring questions and PMs completed the required anonymous Peer Mentor Survey. The Scholar Experience Survey included two peer mentoring-related questions, one which was multi-part, and focused on academic and socioemotional interactions. The Peer Mentor Survey consisted of two multi-part and three open-ended questions and addressed mentor-mentee interactions, influences of peer mentoring on PMs, challenges and successes. Each survey employed a 6-point Likert-type scale with no midpoint and was administered via Qualtrics in March, 2021. Scholars and PMs were also invited to participate in confidential interviews with the grant's external evaluator during February-April, 2021.

Results. Thirty-five of 37 scholars engaged in peer mentoring and 34 completed the peer mentoring survey questions. Seven scholars also served as PMs. Eight scholars had a PM from outside their field of study. All reporting scholars indicated that peer mentoring was helpful to some extent with 82% indicating Moderately or Very Helpful. More than half selected Moderately or Very True for 10 out of the 11 statements related to academic interactions with their PM such as working on goal-setting, identifying campus resources, and course selection. Seventy-four percent and 68%, respectively, indicated that it was Moderately or Very True that their PM helped them see themselves as a "STEM person" and that their PM relationship provided them with a sense of belonging. Interview feedback included positive references to academic and socioemotional support.

All 18 PMs responded to the Peer Mentor Survey. All PMs indicated positive responses to statements about the efficacy of their mentoring relationships, perceived support, and the impacts of serving as PMs on their own growth and sense of belonging. The following themes emerged from the open-ended and interview data: challenges related to COVID-19, difficulties with mentoring scholars in a different major, challenges and successes in relationship-building, mentee and mentor growth, enthusiasm for the program, and challenges with the mechanics of mentoring (e.g., what to talk about during meetings, wanting scholars to better utilize PMs).

Conclusions and Discussion. Data suggest that peer mentoring benefits both the mentee and mentor. That 100% of reporting scholars indicated that mentoring was helpful at some level, and 100% of mentors reported positive influences on their own growth, suggests that peer mentoring of low SES students in a STEM environment can provide mutually beneficial impacts. This study also highlighted areas of room for programmatic improvement for future implementation. PMs appreciated the flexibility to determine mentee activities, but wished for more structure. Additionally, PMs who had mentees in a different major expressed doubts about the efficacy of their mentoring, suggesting that mentee-mentor pairs in related majors should be prioritized.

Acknowledgments. The author acknowledges S-STEM funding by National Science Foundation (DUE-1742224), as well as the NexSTEM Program Leadership team, NexSTEM scholars, and peer mentors, without whom this work could not be done.
Friday, July 9th, 2021
11:00 AM - 2:30 PM: Welcome
Welcome
Nicquet Blake
 
 
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM: Plenary
A Counter-Narrative to Generalized Decline in Academic Research Career Interest
Christine Wood
 
 
12:35 PM - 1:35 PM: Networking Event
Networking Event
 
 
1:40 PM - 2:25 PM: Predictors of Student Transitional Success in a STEM Pipeline Program
Introduction
Angela Ebreo, DRPP, University of Michigan
Kolby Gadd
Peter Bahr
 
 
Abstract: In this presentation, the symposium chair introduces the focus of the symposium, which is on factors related to the success of students transitioning to four year institutions, either directly from high school or through transfer from community college. She briefly describes the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation as one of several programs designed to facilitate underrepresented students' postsecondary educational success in STEM fields, and ends by introducing the two speakers, Dr. Peter Riley Bahr and Dr. Kolby Gadd.
Predictors of Student Success in a STEM Pipeline Program: Lessons Learned from Michigan LSAMP
Kolby Gadd, University of Michigan
 
 
Abstract: Students' sense of belonging and academic self-efficacy are important factors in their college success. In this study, I examine the relationship between a first year intervention, NxtGEN, with STEM students and their reported sense of belonging and academic self-efficacy. Moreover, I explore a mechanism for explaining differences in sense of belonging and academic self-efficacy among NxtGEN participants and a comparison group. Specifically, I describe the characteristics of students' academic and social support networks and ways these networks differ by participation in the intervention. This study relies on longitudinal survey data in which students listed people to whom they are connected in academic and social settings and provided details about the frequency and nexus of their connection to these people. Students also completed scales to measure sense of belonging and academic self-efficacy on this survey. Using these data, I describe the differences in students' networks in terms of both size and strength of connections with family, peers, and university faculty and staff. I also describe differences in sense of belong and academic self-efficacy among students who did and did not participate in NxtGEN programming. Taking advantage of the longitudinal survey design, I am able to describe ways in which students' networks, sense of belonging, and academic self-efficacy change and remain similar during students' first year.
Investigating the Viability of Transfer Pathways to STEM Degrees: Do Community Colleges Prepare Students for Success in University STEM Courses?
Peter Bahr, University of Michigan
Elizabeth Jones, University of Michigan
Joshua Skiles, University of Michigan
 
 
Abstract: Community colleges have considerable potential to grow the number of individuals who complete STEM baccalaureate degrees and to improve the equal distribution of educational opportunity in STEM. However, efforts to fully tap this potential have been hampered by the nagging question of whether community colleges prepare students adequately for advanced STEM courses at universities. In this study, we draw on data from four universities in Michigan to investigate differences in the course and degree outcomes of students who completed prerequisite STEM courses in community colleges versus students who completed prerequisites at the university, distinguishing between community college transfer and non-transfer students. In three of the four universities, we found no consistent evidence of weaker outcomes among students who completed STEM prerequisites at community colleges or among transfer students generally. In one of the four universities, students taking STEM prerequisites in a community college had weaker course outcomes than did non-transfer students. Intersecting evidence from other research on the four universities points to differences in levels of support for transfer students as a probable explanation for the differences in students' outcomes, rather than inadequate rigor of community college STEM coursework.
1:40 PM - 2:25 PM: Impacting Diversity through STEM Enrichment Opportunities
Effect of Team Diversity on Creativity of Bioinspired Design Inventions
Lilibeth A. Flores, University of California San Francisco
Mica Estrada, University of California, San Francisco
Haider Ali Bhatti, University of California, Berkeley
Robert J. Full, University of California, Berkeley
 
 
Abstract: Introduction
Historically, ethnic minority scholars (African Americans, Latinx, American Indians/Alaskan Natives) have been underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields (NSF, 2017). With historically underrepresented (HU) groups projected to become nearly 40% of the population by 2050, it is imperative that the STEM disciplines increase their diversity (NACME, 2014). A collateral benefit often attributed to diversity is greater creativity, with more divergent groups achieving greater amounts of creativity (Paulus, van der Zee, & Kenworthy, 2017; McLeod, Lobel, & Cox ,1996). Lack of heterogeneity in STEM education and the workforce is thought to result in missed opportunities, missed perspectives, and waste of intellectual potential (Valantine & Collins, 2015). Demographic, cognitive, and gender diversity have all been signaled as sources of strength and ideas in team settings. However, there are few studies exploring what types of team diversity actually lead to greater creativity in multidisciplinary settings.

Methods
We designed this study to explore what type of team diversity results in greater creativity outcomes within a team-based, project-based Bioinspired Design course for undergraduate students. The Bioinspired Design course aims to remove artificially created disciplinary boundaries to extend beyond STEM by being open to undergraduates from any major, year, or disciplinary background. This study included 275 students, spanning over two years of the course, who were 60.7% female, 38.5% male, and 0.8% non-binary/other; ranged from 18 to 26 years of age, and 13.5% were HU student. Due to the unique student population and pedagogical approach of this course, we developed an integrative creativity measure that assessed the fluidity, elaboration, originality, and innovation of the bioinspired products created by the teams in the course and yielded good validity, α= 0.82. Lastly, we coded the 72 teams for different types of diversity measures that included educational status, major, ethnicity, and HU status.

Results
Correlational data between our measures of diversity and creativity show the more diversity of educational status in the team the higher the innovation (r=0.12, p<.05) and overall creativity (r=0.17, p<.01). The data also show the higher the diversity in majors within the group, the higher scores on elaboration (r=0.12, p<.05), originality (r=.019, p<.01), innovation (r=0.18, p<.01), and overall creativity (r=0.23, p<.01). Results further affirmed that the more diverse the group in terms of ethnicity, the higher the scores in all domains of creativity, fluency (r=0.23, p<.01), elaboration (r=0.23, p<.01), originality (r=0.11, p<.05), innovation (r=0.16, p<.01), and overall creativity (r=28., p<.01).

Discussion
Our findings show correlational effects on the creativity of student output within an interdisciplinary undergraduate STEM course and diversity in terms of educational status, major, and ethnicity. Specifically, when there is higher interdisciplinary cooperation and ethnic diversity in a team, there is greater output of original ideas, innovation, and overall creativity. The results suggest that many types of diversity in scientific teams can lead to more innovative discoveries, more focus on real world issues, and supports the strength of interdisciplinary collaboration.
Long-term Impacts of STEM Enrichment Programs on Under-represented Minority Students
Dina Ghazzawi, University of Houston
Donna Pattison, University of Houston
Catherine Horn, University of Houston
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. Disparities in STEM undergraduate degree achievement has been a prevalent topic of concern in the current higher education landscape, particularly across race, gender and socio-economic status (Griffith, 2010; NCES, 2018). Despite shifts in population demographics, and an increase in the need for STEM workforce diversity to maintain the nation's economic and technological prominence across the globe, minority student representation in STEM fields still falls far behind current population demographics (Eagan et al., 2013; Lane, 2016). In recent years, STEM enrichment programs have been implemented across higher education institutions in an effort to improve the student success outcomes of under-represented minority students in STEM (Carpi et al., 2017; Jackson & Winfield, 2014). Several studies have found positive outcomes associated with program participation, specifically in graduation, persistence, and math academic preparation across under-represented minority students (e.g., Chang et al., 2014; Lee & Harmon, 2013). Despite these promising results, few results investigate the effects of program participation after accounting for confounding variables that may cause bias in interpreting results (Gonyea & Miller, 2007). For this reason, this study aims to expand research on the long-term effects of participation in STEM intervention programs, in particular the University of Houston's Scholar Enrichment Program (SEP) a program funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the broader Houston-Louis Stokes Alliance Minority Participation (H-LSAMP). Considering the significance of STEM intervention programs at increasing the completion and persistence rates of URM students enrolled in STEM fields, this study examined the extent to which participation in the UH-SEP program impacts the graduation and persistence rates of minority students after controlling for socio-demographic and pre-college baseline characteristics. The study posed the following questions:
1) To what degree does program participation in the UH-SEP program have an effect on degree completion and persistence?
2) To what degree does program participation in the UH-SEP program have an effect on long-term student dropout and persistence trends over time?
Methods. This study examined the 2013 and 2014 SEP freshman student cohorts (n=102), as well as a matched sample of non-SEP freshmen students enrolled in STEM fields across the same cohort years (n = 1,459). Student records contained information concerning academic progress, major, GPA, and demographics, allowing the in-depth analysis of persistence, drop-out and graduation rates over time.
The first step of the analysis involved propensity score matching techniques that matched similar students across a series of baseline covariates that are related to persistence in STEM fields, specifically pre-college standardized math scores, race, gender and major (Ashford et al., 2016; Murphy, Murphy, Gaughan, Hume & Moore; 2010). The resulting sample contained an equal number of SEP and non-SEP participants (n=131). The second step of the analysis involved logistic regression techniques to estimate program participation effects on graduation and persistence rates, using the propensity score matched sample.
Finally, to estimate program participation effects on dropout and completion rates over-time, discrete-time survival analysis was conducted using a competing risks model to analyze patterns of student dropout while controlling for program participation and the competing risk of STEM persistence.

Results. Tables 1 and 2 present results of the logistic regression models estimating the effect of program participation and retention in a STEM field. Logistic regression results demonstrated that participation in the UH-SEP program had a significant positive effect on graduation and retention in a STEM field. After controlling for estimated propensity scores, participants of the UH-SEP program were 3.46 times more likely to graduate and 2.55 times more likely to persist in a STEM field, compared to non-SEP students (p<0.05).
Results of the competing risks model indicated that compared to non-SEP students, SEP participants had a decreased likelihood of dropout and increased likelihood of persistence in a STEM field, evident through the significant sub-hazard ratios for dropout. Table 3 presents the findings of the competing risks regression model.
Conclusions and Discussion. Findings from this study highlight the significant role that STEM intervention programs play in addressing inadequate academic preparation and barriers to the success of under-represented minority students in STEM (Chang et al., 2014; Crisp et al., 2009). Results add to the existing body of literature concerning racial disparities in STEM degree achievement by presenting program participation effects after controlling for pre-college and socio-demographic variables significantly associated with success in a STEM field. In addition, results from this study demonstrate the long-term significant effects of intervention programs on reducing the likelihood of dropout and increasing persistence among minority students. These findings support continuous calls for intervention programs that specifically target minority students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Given that findings from this study were limited to data from a single institution, recommendations for future studies include conducting similar analyses on a broader set of institutions within the H-LSAMP alliance as well as similar national intervention programs to gain a more comprehensive view of intervention effects on minority student success.
Acknowledgments. Funding for this work is provided by the National Science Foundation: NSF Award HRD-1911310, 1407736, and 0903948. Additional funding was provided by Halliburton, Conoco Phillips, private donors, and the University of Houston's Provost's Office.
1:40 PM - 2:25 PM: Pandemic Persistence: Pivoting During Covid-19
Persisting Despite COVID-19 Disruptions: Persistence of Low-income, Academically Talented LatinX and Female STEM Community College Students Receiving Financial Support and Unified, Holistic, Supportive Services
Michelle Naffziger-Hirsch, Oakton Community College
Suzanne Ziegenhorn, Oakton Community College
Mario Borha, Oakton Community College
Claudia Melgar, Oakton Community College
Gloria Liu, Oakton Community College
 
 
Abstract: Abstract

Introduction. Community colleges serve a large proportion of underrepresented minority, first-generation and low-income students and so are ideally positioned to identify potential STEM students (Ma and Baum, 2016). Data also indicates that community college students, even academically talented STEM students, may be underprepared for college success due to limited financial resources, first-generation college student status, or lack of knowledge about STEM-related options in academia and work. In the COVID-19 global pandemic context, challenges are greater, with students reporting delayed graduation (13%), lost jobs, internships or job offers (40%), and expecting to earn less at age 35 (29%) (Acujeo et. al 2020). In STEM too, a majority of undergraduates whose Spring 2020 STEM courses shifted from in-person to remote instruction due to COVID-19 struggled significantly (Means and Neisler, 2020). Increasing evidence suggests that unified, holistic supportive services attuned to individual student needs while promoting integration provide greater benefits to community college students, especially underrepresented minority, first-generation and low-income students, and results in better outcomes as measured by persistence (overall and in STEM) and transfer (Cooper et al., 2014; Kolenvic et al., 2103; Shadduck, 2017).

This study examines 2 years of data collected on the STEM Scholars program at Oakton Community College during academic years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, which offered novel programming to serve this underrepresented segment of Oakton students, to examine the critical role that unified holistic support services can play in low income, academically talented underrepresented minority and female STEM students' persistence to degree and in STEM in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods. We analyzed quantitative data collected from 19 STEM Scholar enrollments and data from Oakton's Office of Research and Planning establishing a control group, consisting of 1,144 full-time and part-time students that first enrolled for fall 2019 and fall 2020 who have taken certain STEM-related courses while scoring at least 300 on math placement exams. We also used qualitative data software analysis tool Atlas.ti to code and analyze qualitative data including participant surveys from 3 different time points for each of 2 cohorts, yearly 1-on-1 interviews with Scholars, a survey and focus group with Scholar mentors, STEM Scholars program records and interviews with STEM Scholars Leaders.

Results. In the COVID-19 context, financial support and unified, holistic support services played an essential role in helping STEM Scholars persist. In particular, among Hispanic/Latinx STEM Scholars, persistence rates were 10% greater from fall 2019 to spring 2020 compared to the control group. Persistence rates for the same group of Hispanic/Latinx STEM Scholars increased to 20% when considering fall 2019 to fall 2020 persistence as compared to Oakton Hispanic/Latinx STEM students not a part of the STEM Scholars Program. Among female participants in the STEM Scholars Program, we find that while their fall 2019 to spring 2020 persistence rates increased by 10% compared to the control group, this trend did not apply to fall 2019 to fall 2020 as their persistence rates were similar to their Oakton STEM counterparts (persistence rates of 60% and 61, respectively). 100% of cohort 2 Scholars persisted fall 2020 to spring 2021.

Conclusions and Discussion. Financial support and unified, holistic supportive services did not address every challenge STEM Scholars faced, but helped identify problems before they became roadblocks to persistence. Such resource intensive support is not easily scalable, however we suggest mechanisms and institutional changes to more fully support future cohorts of STEM students.

Acknowledgments. Research was supported by an S-STEM grant provided by The National Science Foundation and Oakton Community College.
Students Grade Evaluation, Survey Feedback, and Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Comparative Study of Virtual vs. In-Person Offering of Freshman-Level General Chemistry II Course in Summer at Xavier University of Louisiana
Navneet Goyal, Xavier University of Louisiana
Janet Privett, Xavier University of Louisiana
Asem Abdulahad, Xavier University of Louisiana
Tiera Coston, Xavier University of Louisiana
 
 
Abstract: A primary motivation for this study was to compare student perceptions and performance within a virtual learning environment to the traditional in-person learning experience at Xavier. In this article, we present quantitative and qualitative analyses of the General Chemistry II course offered during the five-week summer sessions. Furthermore, we compare student performance on exams during the COVID-19 remote learning experience with exam performance over a 3-year period of conventional in-person instruction. In this article, we outline student grades, survey feedback, and learning outcomes. This study was performed to assist us in improving and enriching the course contents and its delivery, as we cope with the transition to a virtual learning environment imposed by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
1:40 PM - 2:25 PM: Undergraduate Strategies for STEM Career Advancement
Advancing Careers of Upper Level Students in the Life Sciences: The Case of a Minority Serving Institution
Janice Fournillier, Georgia State University
Natasha McClendon, Georgia State University
Suuazette Mooring, Georgia State University
William Boozer, Georgia State University
Susan Ogletree, Georgia State University
 
 
Abstract: Abstract

This concurrent mixed methods study focused on the outcomes of the contribution of specific support structures to the development of targeted skills and the self-efficacy of under-represented students in Life Sciences at an urban research university with a strong commitment to diversity. The Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) model framed the design of the intervention and informed the study that asks: (1) Does: (a) scholarship support; (b) scholars' sense of self-efficacy in STEM programs; (c) outcome expectations for obtaining a STEM degree, and (d) experiences of support in college STEM contexts predict the STEM major student success? (2) What are the students' perceptions of the impact that their academic experiences, their sense of self-efficacy, and their outcome expectations for obtaining the STEM degrees have on their success in the program? According to the SCCT model (Lent et al, 1994), increases in self-efficacy are expected to have long-term impact on Scholars intent to persist in STEM careers.

Simple non-parametric statistical analysis was used to describe the characteristics of the members of various cohort groups. A survey with a retrospective pretest design collected end-of-year data from students in four domains: Science/STEM Identity, Lab Research Self-Efficacy, Scientific Communication Self-Efficacy, and Metacognitive Awareness (which had 8 subdomains). Results were analyzed using t-tests, and effect sizes were calculated. Their academic disposition and perceptions of their experiences were gathered using semi-structured individual interviews.
Ninety-eight percent of the 60 students have been retained and/or graduated in a STEM discipline. Of the 25 students who have graduated with BS degrees, 19 have gone on to MD programs, PhD programs or still working in a STEM field. One student recently received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Eight students continued in MS programs at the same institution and continue to receive financial and professional development support from S-STEM. On the quantitative survey, students reported growth to most or all items in each domain and subdomain, with the greatest growth reported in Scientific Communication Self-Efficacy, the students' perceptions of their ability to communicate effectively as scientists. The participants who completed the program participated in exit interviews over the past three years on the importance of the support the program provided. This support might have contributed to the growth in each domain and sub domain. The subthemes associated with "support" included personal relationships with mentors, boosts in confidence as STEM scholars, career guidance, preparation and practice for interviews, presentations, peer feedback, and financial support.
The size of the cohort groups limited the kind of analysis that could be done and so the findings are not generalizable but instead represent a case of one institution that might be transferred or translated to others. The support provided the students moved beyond counselling and instead paid attention to practical taken for granted skills and meeting the financial needs of the students who could then focus more on their academic outcomes. The confidence gained from the personal and scholarly supports and mentorship that were an integral aspect of the intervention might have allowed for continued interest in a career in STEM field. The students were not only performing well academically but also gaining the knowledge about possibilities available to them. The increase in the kinds of supports offered should demonstrate to institutions serving underrepresented students, who have extreme financial needs, that providing them with not only funding but also hands-on mentoring that is not just individualistic, but collaborative, can go a long way in making a difference in ensuring growth in specific skills, increased self-efficacy, graduation and retention in STEM fields.
Increasing HSI Community College Engineering Students Success: Non-Cognitive Outcome Relationships with Financial Support and Mentoring
Yoel Rodriguez, Hostos Community College, CUNY
Antonios Varelas
Nieves Angulo
Clara Nieto-Wire
Anthony DePass
 
 
Abstract: Hostos Community College (HCC) of The City University of New York (CUNY) recently created and was awarded the NSF S-STEM titled "Hostos Engineering Academic Talent" (HEAT) Scholarship Program. The HEAT Program trains a subset of student as part of the HCC Joint Dual Engineering Degree Program with The City College of New York's Grove School of Engineering (CCNY's GSoE) of CUNY. The HEAT Program offers low-income academically talented scholars financial support, and exposure to a variety of high-impact extracurricular activities that include: faculty and peer mentoring model; undergraduate research opportunities; STEM-related field trips; participation at professional STEM conferences; career orientation workshops; and other professional development opportunities. These activities are designed to increase efficacy, belonging and science identity, and are considered complementary to financial aid assistance. Financial aid by itself is insufficient for academic success for low-income academically talented college students.1,2 Here we report partial data as to the impact of the HEAT model on the first cohort of ten HEAT Scholars and five Associates who had benefitted from the program with the exception of direct financial support, as well as faculty and peer mentoring. To this end, we have administered a series of surveys3,4 targeting their perceived utility, program satisfaction, and assessment of non-cognitive and cognitive outcomes. Measures include academic self-efficacy for engineering courses, emotional engagement, identity as an engineer, expectancy for an engineering career, and cognitive engagement. These outcomes were assessed in HEAT Scholars, Associate HEAT Cohort and a control population of non-participating students taken from the HCC engineering general population.

At the time the surveys were administered, six out of the ten scholars were conducting research. However, by the end of their first year of the program all were engaged in research. In addition, the scholars reported high levels of cognitive engagement, thinking about different ways to solve problems, and trying to connect current learning to previous knowledge. Most scholars participated in field trips to museums and engineering laboratories and took part in the 9th Hostos STEM Olympiad. As of today, eight out of the ten scholars have obtained their A.S. in Engineering from HCC; five have transferred to CCNY's GSoE, and two to Cornell University. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one HEAT Scholar had to move out of New York City, but intends to continue pursuing a B.E. degree and thus, 90% of the scholars remain in engineering and 80% remain in the program. The United States is in need of an increased and diverse STEM workforce.5 HCC via its Joint Dual Engineering Degree Program with The City College of New York's Grove School of Engineering of CUNY is contributing towards this endeavor.

Results of our study on non-cognitive impacts show that HEAT scholars have higher academic self-efficacy for engineering courses, feeling confident in the ability to learn the material, and to meet the challenge of performing well in engineering courses compared to the engineering population. HEAT Scholars also reported high levels of emotional engagement looking forward to engineering classes, enjoying learning new things about engineering, wanting to understand what is taught, and feeling good when in engineering classes. In addition, the Scholars reported high levels of cognitive engagement through the work in their engineering. Associate scholars scored significantly lower in all these measures comparable to that seen in the non-participating control. We consider this work exploratory as we look to confirm with a larger cohort size. This preliminary analysis of the HEAT program indicates its positive impact on the development of Scholars' non-cognitive and cognitive outcomes due to their participation in the program's activities. The scholars feel supported both morally and financially and appreciate that faculty and peer mentors are available at all times to encourage and advise.

Acknowledgments - We are grateful to NSF (NSF S-STEM Award DUE-1833767), the HCC Office of Academic Affairs, and our Hostos STEM students.
2:30 PM - 3:15 PM: Holistic Undergraduate Research Experiences
Supporting STEM students through remote interdisciplinary collaboration in undergraduate research
Lissette Delgado-Cruzata, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Giazu Enciso Dominguez, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. Effective mentoring through research experiences supports student's learning in science courses and interest in science careers. It also impacts academic performance and success by increasing independent learning (Lopatto, D. (2007). Research improves undergraduate student attitudes towards science including self-reported curiosity, science identity, confidence. It also increases communication skills, creativity and knowledge of scientific content (Laursen, S. et al, 2010). Faculty interactions in this context are particularly relevant as these promote self-efficacy, scientific identity, and scholarly productivity (Joshi, M., Aikens, M. L., & Dolan, E. L., 2019). While the benefits of undergraduate research are well documented, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) reports that only 19% of students engage in research activities during their undergraduate education, a number that is even smaller for those attending 2-year colleges.

Students from backgrounds underrepresented (URM) in STEM fields show larger gains than other students when engaging in research experiences (Lopatto, D. (2007). The COVID-19 pandemic further impacted the availability of research experiences for undergraduates, and data shows that this has particularly impacted URM and first-generation students (Barber, P. H. et al, 2021). Therefore, the development of programs that engage URM students in remote research experiences is a priority. Here we describe an intervention that engages 2- and 4-year college students in biology-related research and present a preliminary assessment of their experiences.


Goal of Research: In an effort to support research experiences for undergraduates at 2- and 4-year colleges and to increase opportunities to engage community college students in research, an interdisciplinary undergraduate research experience was developed by two professors at The City University of New York (CUNY). This pilot intervention had the goal of providing STEM undergraduates from mostly URM backgrounds with research opportunities during the 2020 distance modality period of instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Methods. Students from a 2-year and a 4-year college that had expressed interest in participating in research were recruited at both schools, Hostos Community College and John Jay College of CUNY. A total of 15 undergraduates worked on research projects during the spring and summer semesters of 2020. The experience was designed as an interdisciplinary collaborative research project in which students of both schools worked together. The students and professors met periodically via Zoom to participate in theoretical lectures, experimental analysis of data, peer reviewed paper discussions, and hands-on activities. The students also scheduled meetings with their research partners independently of the planned overall group meetings, students were asked to organize these considering the progress and needs of their project, and their time availability. The preliminary findings of the research were presented in shared meetings, and also students submitted abstracts to local and national conferences.

The assessment of the student experiences was performed qualitatively by the use of a 9-question open survey that evaluated the implementation of the intervention and identified strengths and areas in need of improvement. The survey was voluntary and anonymous. 12 of the participants provided responses. It is important to highlight that there are limited qualitative studies discussing close mentoring research engagement of URM students in STEM. In order to achieve depth and intersubjectivity in the data analysis, the analysis was carried out in various temporal instances. In the first stage, the data corpus was coded and analyzed based on its content using grounded theory. In a second stage, units of meaning were created, the research team categorized, filtered and reorganized based on the research objectives. In a third moment, and after the systematic reading of the codes and their context, a selection was made of the categories that specifically accounted for students' experience during the research intervention.


Results. A total of 15 students participated in this intervention, 14 of which are URM in STEM (either African American or Hispanic). The group had 9 (60%) female students and 6 (40%) male students. The students worked in pairs with specific research projects, and met independently and with the overall group throughout the intervention period with similar frequency. As the intervention progressed, student-only research meetings were more common than whole group meetings. A total of 12 students participated in local and/or national conferences during the summer and within the 6-month period following the intervention.

In the qualitative assessment, the students highlighted a (1)new understanding of the research process in which they understood the times and movements of the process, a (2)development of personal, academic and professional skills, and an (3)increase in their confidence. The latter resulted from their engagement in activities of different kinds. The students also expressed the importance of having a community during the COVID-19 pandemic, they expressed a (4)higher sense of belonging that prevented isolation as a result of participating in the intervention. Students expressed satisfaction with their ability to manage several projects at the same time, with limited free time and working through weekends. They also provided suggestions for future interventions, in areas where they considered there could be improvement, which included the availability of financial support and the planning of more frequent sessions.


Conclusions and Discussions. Our intervention adds to other available evidence that indicates remote undergraduate experiences are possible and can support learning for undergraduate students (Tripepi, M., & Landberg, T. 2021). This work also shows that interventions of this kind can promote remote interactions between students and faculty, as well as among students impacting positively the college experience for undergraduates. We found that students build on skills beyond the realm of the academic and professional world, with gains in personal development as well. We also think it will be important to more critically explore the impact of the overwhelming and hyperproductive academic lifestyle and how this model, which instructors share and students reproduce, can be damaging to long-term sustainable interaction with research and learning. Because URM STEM students already faced multiple structural barriers, to provide successful models of success requires us to further explore this dynamic to ultimately enhance interventions at the undergraduate level that aim to increase their numbers in these fields.


Acknowledgments. No funding was received to conduct this research.
STAR-PREP: An Innovative Holistic and Research-Based Immersion Program To Increase Under-Represented Minority Representation In Science And Medicine
Gregory Carey, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Bret Hassel, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Tonya Webb, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Toni Antalis, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Terry Rogers, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Leanne Simington, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Eduardo Davila, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Anschutz
Laundette Jones, University of Maryland School of Medicine
 
 
Abstract: Introduction: The proportions of African and Black and Hispanic and Latino Americans grew from 24.8 to 30.6% between the years 2000 and 2014 alone. This proportion is projected to increase further in the coming decades. Despite this population growth and urgent known and projected needs in biomedical research and healthcare workforce diversity, presently, under-represented students (UR) comprise only 11.5% of enrollees in PhD programs. Moreover, although UR medical school graduates comprised 11.8% of the total in 2010, alarmingly this already low percentage dropped to 10.3% in 2015. Lastly, of all MD-PhD program matriculants in 2017, only 9.9% were UR. To address this crisis, in 2016, University of Maryland Baltimore developed STAR-PREP (Science Training for Advancing Biomedical Research ((STAR)-PREP) to provide a year-long rigorous, immersive and supportive experience designed to build students in academic and research rigor and to both individually and holistically to engage in good emotional and mental health practices that will help them to thrive once they enroll in PhD and MD-PhD programs.
Methods: STAR-PREP was built on a cohort model whose premise was that providing support and intense academic and research preparation, built on an individualized student development plan (IDP) would prepare STAR-PREP Scholars who would be highly competitive to rise to high quality graduate programs. UR participant scholars were diverse and were competitively recruited from geographically diverse US locations and institutions. Institutional and familial resources were varied as well and scholars were selected based on assessed passion for research and demonstration of research commitment and potential. Incoming Scholars each received an individualized development plan (IDP), prepared collaboratively between each Scholar and mentor and STAR-PREP Leadership. In addition to sharpening lab and research skills and experiences (75% of program time), Scholars interacted with near peers and diverse mentors and mentees across the UMB campus and engaged in rigorous graduate courses, critical thinking, writing and presentation workshops, and were both presenters and attenders in research conferences (25% of program time). These intentional and rigorous writing and communication modules prepared the students for communication in their presentations, publications and ensuing graduate school applications and interviews. Furthermore, STAR-PREP Scholars added to and benefitted from UMB's innovatively developed pipeline and continuum and ecosystem of mentored research education programs and outreach activities on campus and with our partners, creating a strong sense of belonging. Moreover, outreach service as mentors in the pipelines and ecosystem and in the local community enhanced their sense of value in the form of giving back.
Results: In just 4 full academic years, 14 of 18 (77.8%) of STAR-PREP scholars engaging in the program have ascended to enrollment in strong PhD and MD-PhD programs. One (1) remains in training and 3 (16.7%) ascended to MD and MD-MS programs.
Conclusion: UM SOM's I3 approach: intensity, immersion and integration which underpin its STAR-PREP program, demonstrates a highly effective training model and approach to address the urgent and growing need for UR biomedical scientists and physician-scientists. This success was further enhanced by the Scholars' sense of belonging to UMB and its academic environment and, networking and service in the local and pipeline communities.
2:30 PM - 3:15 PM: Using Technology to Bridge the Gap
Using Three-Dimensional Simulations to Support Spatial Thinking About Electric Fields
Candice Etson, Wesleyan University
Tommy Whelan, Wesleyan University
Heather Burte, Texas A&M University
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. Effective instruction of Gauss's Law is extremely important because it has many applications in electrostatics. Perhaps more importantly, Gauss's Law is a major component of the curriculum for gateway courses in which students decide if physics is the right area of study for them. In general, novice students have difficulty understanding and properly applying Gauss's Law, and those with weaker spatial reasoning skills may face additional challenges as they struggle to visualize the relevant electric field symmetries (Pepper et al., 2012). There is some evidence that, on average, women have weaker spatial reasoning skills than men. Likewise, access to certain types of early life educational experiences may also impact spatial reasoning skills later in life (Uttal et al., 2012). Therefore, supporting students learning about Gauss's Law by tailoring instruction to support spatial thinking could have a positive impact on the retention of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM. The present study proposes a new pedagogical tool to support students that struggle to visualize electric fields. Namely, we created a coherent tutorial utilizing interactive three-dimensional electric field simulations to teach students about electric field strength and direction.

Methods. Starting from a previously published tutorial that approached the topic of electric field symmetry from a more traditional perspective (Li & Singh, 2017), we developed a simulation-augmented tutorial covering the same material. The traditional tutorial relied on students' ability to perform vector addition and to visualize the results to answer questions about vector fields. The simulation-augmented tutorial was designed to support spatial thinking using a "guess and check" approach. After attempting to visualize the three-dimensional electric fields arising from a variety of charge distributions, students were able to view and interact with mathematically accurate simulated representations of those vector fields to see for themselves whether their mental images matched the simulations. We assessed student learning using the pre- and post-test that accompanied the published tutorial. Prior to taking the tutorial, all participants in the present study completed a demographics questionnaire, as well as a spatial reasoning assessment, the Paper Folding Test (Ekstrom et al., 1976). We used this data to separate participants into two groups that were roughly the same in composition with respect to gender, prior physics experience, and spatial reasoning ability. One group took the original tutorial, while the other group took our simulation-augmented tutorial.

Results. We found that the simulation-augmented tutorial was more effective than the traditional tutorial. Students who took the tutorial with simulations displayed larger improvements from pre- to post-test than those who took the traditional tutorial, and the Cohen's effect size was large (d = 0.98). A stepwise multivariate regression revealed that the strongest predictor of improvement from pre- to post-test was which version of the tutorial participants completed. We also found that there was a contribution from the interaction term between the tutorial version and the participants' paper folding test score. However, the most surprising result was the contribution of the interaction term between spatial ability and gender. We decided to further investigate this interaction by plotting improvement as a function of paper folding test score for each gender-tutorial combination (Figure 1). The lines of best fit suggest that, for female students, having weaker spatial thinking skills negatively impacted their ability to learn from the traditional tutorial. This effect was not seen with the simulation-based tutorial, nor was there a negative impact for male students with weaker spatial skills, regardless of the tutorial version. This result suggests that simulation-augmented tutorials may be especially helpful for female students with weaker spatial skills.

Conclusions and Discussion. Our results indicate that using simulations to support students in their spatial thinking about electric fields can be extremely helpful to students as they learn to apply Gauss's Law. Previous physics education research suggests that students struggle with Gauss's Law problems because: electric fields are not intuitive, students have trouble understanding the three-dimensional nature of electric fields, and students have difficulty recognizing symmetries in electric fields (Adrian & Fuller, 1997; Pepper et al., 2012; Singh, 2006). The simulation-augmented tutorial directly addresses these issues, as the simulations: help develop intuition, show electric fields in three dimensions, and allow students to explore symmetries of the field. While interventions such as simulations have been implemented in other STEM domains that require strong mental manipulation, no research before has investigated implementing manipulable three-dimensional simulations in the instruction electric fields. The success of this spatially targeted tutorial provides a first glimpse into the power of using simulations to help students overcome challenges in learning electrostatics. In addition, the strong interaction between gender and spatial reasoning ability with respect to learning gains further suggests that providing spatially targeted instruction to students in introductory STEM courses may also help achieve higher levels of persistence for members of underrepresented groups. Based on these findings, we are developing an entire Gauss's Law tutorial series that incorporates the use of simulations.
Partnership Advancing Equity in STEM Through a Virtual STEM Platform & Wrap-Around Services Model
Idris Stovall, Mathematical Sciences Institute (MSI)
Chad Womack, United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
 
 
Abstract: Background and Motivation for UNCF STEM Scholars Program

The motivation for the design, development and implementation of the UNCF STEM Scholars Program was borne out of the observation that there were few programs that specifically targeted high achieving/performing African American high school students who were committed to majoring in STEM and pursuing careers in science and technology while supporting them holistically throughout their undergraduate matriculation and empowering them through entrepreneurship. The design of the program recognizes that high performing African American STEM-oriented students still face challenges and obstacles that they face upon entering their undergraduate programs but takes a growth mindset approach in providing support for these students.

UNCF and MSI Partnership. The UNCF - MSI partnership grew out of the need to provide additional academic support - particularly in mathematics - for STEM Scholars students during their transition into their freshman year of college. After the first year of the program, the UNCF program staff recognized that while some scholars were able to make their transition seamlessly, approximately fifteen to twenty percent were struggling particularly in their freshman math courses (which ranged from Pre-Calculus to Multivariate Calculus). Out of concern for ensuring a successful transition, the UNCF staff began to consider ways in which academic services could be provided to those scholars who were struggling in a manner that was on-demand, structured and regularly scheduled as well as scalable - able to reach students on campuses across multiple time zones.

This led to UNCF reaching out to the MSI team to develop a partnership that would develop a platform-based solution and satisfy the aforementioned requirements. The STEM tutorial platform would enable the program to provide the interventions wherever they were needed for students who demonstrated a clear need for additional academic support. The partnership and platform-based approach was innovative and impactful demonstrating clear impacts for those students that have been engaged over several cohorts. In some ways, this partnership was ahead of its time choosing to adopt a virtual platform as the primary medium of communication and programmatic operations (Canvas, Schoology, Zoom, Google); this has proved to be an promising practice in the era of COVID-19 and its relevant effects on both educational environments but also individual students and staff.

Conceptual Framework. Several theories undergird this approach to partnership but are captured more broadly in the notion of BE-STEM (Black Excellence in STEM) that acknowledges the inherent intellectual capacity and contributions of African American students from an unapologetically anti-deficit framing (Figure 1). This approach is evident in the program development, partnership design and associated activities. Valencia (2010), describes deficit-thinking as a pseudoscientific approach that marginalizes and pathologizes vulnerable populations in ways that place blame on the individual and not the system.

A great deal of STEM research on students of color focuses on poor preparation, subpar performance, and unsatisfactory outcomes (McGee, 2018). Harper's (2010) Anti-deficit achievement framework for studying students of color in STEM converts commonly explored deficit-based questions on why so few students of color, including Black students, experience success in STEM fields.

Figure 1. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THEORY, CONCEPT AND PRACTICE

BE-STEM serves as the overarching orientation for both theory and practice. This motivates program development, implementation and design that is anti-deficit in thinking and doing. Th theoretical frameworks that form the foundation of the partnership and approach.

Partnership Structure. Over the past five cohorts of STEM Scholars, both organizations have worked diligently to define and refine a partnership with the following characteristics: (a) Academic support through the Virtual STEM Platform including summer pre-freshman programming (online courses, major & course advisory) along with discussion boards, curated resources, and group/individual tutoring during the academic year; (b) A pre-and -post assessment strategy utilized to measure academic content growth of the students in this wrap-around services model in the mathematical sciences: (c ) Community-building lead by real live African American researchers, professionals, and practitioners to ensure students' preparation and expectations are aligned with what they are likely to encounter post-graduation.

Through collective strategic planning & coordination, regular communication, and maintaining flexibility towards each other's programming - keeping the students central - has been key in the ongoing development of the Virtual STEM Platform and wrap-around services model between UNCF and MSI. That the partnership is rooted in same-race representation and support and has virtually unfettered reach addresses limitations seen in comparison programs.

Implications and Results of Partnership. Academic enrichment and community-building between African American students and African American mathematical scientists, educators, and related experts - all nationally dispersed at universities and organizations across the country - can be successfully connected using technology (Virtual STEM Platform) and a wrap-around services model with positive result on its first cohort of graduating students (85% persistence). UNCF - MSI actively pursuing other ways to partner, study, and scale to other programs and HBCUs within the UNCF portfolio and beyond.
2:30 PM - 3:15 PM: Lessons in Mentorship
Teachable Mentor Strategies that Increase Quality of Communication and Mentees' Comfort Level: Preliminary Results from the Scientific Communication Advances Research Excellence Mentor-Training Program.
Hwa Young Lee, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Shine Chang, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Erin Dahlstrom, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Christine Bell, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Cheryl Anderson, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Carrie Cameron, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
 
 
Abstract: Introduction: The Scientific Communication Advances Research Excellence (SCOARE) program provides mentors with knowledge and strategies to achieve more effective mentoring of their mentees in scientific communication (SciComm) skills. Previous Social-Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) studies of the relationships between development of SciComm skills, how they are mentored and used, and mentees' intention to remain in research careers have suggested that increasing mentors' awareness of the importance of SciComm and how to mentor it, especially as it relates to both personal and science identity, can play a role in increasing mentees' self-efficacy and sense of belonging in research careers, as well as reinforce their intentions to remain in research careers (Cameron, Lee, Anderson, Trachtenberg, & Chang, 2020). Based on this evidence, we developed a mentor-training workshop with learning objectives closely linked to the SCCT constructs. We aimed to test whether such a workshop intervention for faculty mentors can have an enduring impact on their mentees. Here we present preliminary results from an analysis linking mentor-reported post-workshop data with their matched mentee-reported data. The findings from this analysis describe the impact of two particular mentoring strategies, 'acknowledging [mentees' efforts in SciComm]' and 'providing quality feedback', on mentees' six months after the mentor's workshop participation.

Methods: Participants for the current study were doctoral and postdoctoral mentees of the mentors who participated in half-day SCOARE workshops. (Mentees do not attend the workshop.) We invited at least one mentee per mentor to take a pre-survey 2 weeks before their mentors attended the workshop and post-surveys 6 months after the workshop. The online mentee survey includes items regarding discomfort in the research environment because of linguistic background, self-efficacy in scientific communication, and perception of the quality of communication with mentor. The three discomfort questions were 1) have you been judged unfavorably because of the way you speak English (definitely not to definitely yes), 2) how comfortable would you feel speaking your home style of English to your mentor or other senior scientists? (completely comfortable to very uncomfortable), 3) Thinking about the writing and speaking necessary to be successful makes me reconsider my goal of pursuing a research career (strongly disagree to strongly agree). Mentors who participated in the SCOARE workshops were also participants for the current study. On the corresponding faculty mentor survey, mentors were asked which mentoring strategies presented in the workshop they had applied after the workshop with three response options, "didn't use the strategy", "used the strategy in the same way as before", and "used the strategy differently/more". For the current study, we focused on two strategies from the workshop: giving constructive feedback and providing acknowledgment.
Mentee outcomes of self-efficacy in SciComm and perception of quality of communication with mentors were assessed using mixed-effects linear models with an unstructured covariance and with the intercept as a random effect. The models were estimated using maximum likelihood via PROC MIXED in SAS (version 8.2). Five predictors were used for each mentee outcome: three items of discomfort and two mentoring strategies. This study has approval from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center IRB (Protocol 2018-0206).
Results: One hundred-sixty mentees completed both pre-and post-surveys and 95 mentors reported the mentoring strategies they applied with their mentees. Among mentees who completed both surveys, 76% were doctoral trainees, 66% were female, 30% were first generation, 60% were White, 11% were Hispanic/Latinx, 6% were Black or African American. Sixty percent reported that their doctoral program was in a basic science.
Three-level multilevel growth model results revealed that mentee perception of the quality of communication with their mentors significantly increased when the mentors applied a new or enhanced "feedback" strategy (F=5.49, p=.03). In particular, "feedback" strategies significantly influenced mentee perception of the quality of communication when mentees reported high levels of feeling "judged unfavorably due to the way I speak" (F= 12.78, p<.001). Overall, trainee self-efficacy in writing and speaking increased 6 months after the workshop; however, mentees who reported feeling uncomfortable talking to their mentors at baseline experienced even greater impact on self-efficacy in writing and speaking if their mentors used a new or enhanced "acknowledgment" strategy (SE writing: F=16.54, p<.001; SE speaking: F=8.88, p=.003). In addition, mentors' use of new or enhanced "acknowledgement" strategies was powerful for mentees who reported strongly reconsidering their pursuit of research careers due to the SciComm required for success; their self-efficacy in writing increased (F=18.98, p<.001). Mentee comments include 'Our meetings are much more productive and our mentor/mentee relationship has grown. We are on the same page the majority of the time now'; 'There has been an improvement in the relationship regarding my career goals and future direction. More oriented toward individual progress'; 'My mentor provides feedback on the work that I do, both positive and constructive. My mentor's notes on what I am doing well make me feel encouraged and appreciated. The constructive feedback I get helps motivate me to improve on skills that are not as strong. This prepares me for my future career. I value my mentor's input immensely.'
Conclusion: Results from this preliminary analysis suggest that doctoral and postdoctoral mentees whose mentors learn and apply SciComm mentoring strategies from the SCOARE workshop show improvements in several predictors associated with sustained intention to remain in research careers. Mentors who increased or enhanced their practices in giving feedback and acknowledging mentees' efforts in SciComm had greater positive impact on mentee-reported quality of communication and mentee self-efficacy in scientific writing and speaking, and the impact was greater among mentees who reported feeling discomfort in the research environment at baseline, who may be at higher risk of attrition. The strategies learned by the mentors in the workshop require no special knowledge of linguistics, English grammar, composition, or public speaking; acknowledgement of trainees' work, an especially effective strategy, is also especially easy to apply and does not require a time commitment for either mentor or mentee. Additional results of the intervention study are forthcoming.
Creating Mutually Beneficial Communities of Care: A review of mentor and mentee positive academic behavior growth and effects on STEM persistence.
Louis Trzepacz, Student Experience
Freddy Colon
Gerald Korenowski
Jeannie Steigler
Nam Caihua
Peter Persans
Charles Martin
Maya Kiehl
Gina Kucinski
Elaine Zerbetto Traldi
Steven Tysoe
Alex Ma
Amy Svirsky
Janelle Fayette
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. Institutions control for various factors like SAT scores, High School academic performance, etc. when admitting students. Research is mixed on the effectiveness of these indicators to auger success in higher education settings (Baron & Norman, 1992), (Richardson, Abraham & Bond 2012). Largely these factors serve as proxies for academic and personal behaviors which directly affect student performance. The inability of some students to stay on top of their studies, do out of class assignments consistently, connect with other students around learning make it less likely they will continue (Lau, 2003). These tasks, we term positive academic behaviors: activities in which students engage that are positively correlated with academic performance. Namely students who take responsibly for their learning and engage in positive academic behaviors are more likely to persist and ultimately graduate (Richardson, Abraham & Bond 2012).

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, through a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, provides a peer-to-peer mentor program, IPERSIST, for approximately 1,100 first-year students enrolled in Calculus I, Physics I, and Chemistry I. The two-pronged mentor curriculum is designed with the outcomes of supporting students' subject area learning much like supplemental instruction, and also increasing the adoption of positive academic behaviors. Through weekly small group meetings mentors lead students through the curriculum and emphasize the use of these behaviors, incentivize their adoption, and check-in on results.

We discovered the program had similar effects on the mentors themselves. We meet with our mentors weekly and provide support for their own learning behaviors, through finals study sessions and direct access to faculty.

Methods. Rensselaer has collected generalized pre-data through its first-year survey disseminated to all students prior to enrollment. This tool asks students to describe their engagement in a set of academic behaviors during high school. We surveyed participants in our mentor programs at mid semester and at the end of the semester to determine which academic behaviors they were engaging in.

Additionally, we collected evidence from our mentors about their own behaviors and how mentoring may have affected them. However, the focus of this proposal is on the mentee experience.

Results. We found student mentees reporting increases in time management, preparation for exams, improvement in study skills, motivation and coping with academic stress. The greatest impact was in the area of completing course homework on a consistent basis, ability to stay on top of course work, and developing a positive relationship with other students in the mentor sessions. The mentor curriculum had a lesser effect on the adoption of study groups.

Conclusions and Discussion. Our baseline group was first-years students' reports of academic behaviors in high school and their perceived needs to be successful in college. These data are collected in our first-year survey where we find students indicating the highest perceived needs in improving their time management, and study skills and habits. The students who participated in IPERSIST indicated they believed those sets of behaviors were improved based on their participation in the program.

Chi Square and ANOVA analyses revealed differences in the reporting of students by gender, Race/Ethnicity and International Student Status, as well as High School preparation. Going forward we hope to do a comparison of students vis-à-vis pre-matriculation, through our program and compare to a control group who do not participate in IPERSIST to determine the effect size of these differences and how we can change our curriculum to ensure parity.

Acknowledgments. The IPERSIST program was developed and supported through a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Beginning in the fall of 2021, this program funding will end and Institute funds will support the program achieving our goal of "institutionalization" of IPERSIST. This initiative is made possible by collaboration with Academic Affairs, particularly the departments of Chemical and Biological Sciences; Mathematics; and Physics; The Advising and Learning Assistance Centers; the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment; as well as Student Life, including the First-Year Experience and Student Success. In addition, we are supported by Institutional Advancement.
2:30 PM - 3:15 PM: Methodologies for Studying STEM Participation and Persistance
Factors that affect postdoctoral trainee persistence in academia
W. Marcus Lambert, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Avelino Amado, Weill Cornell Graduate School
 
 
Abstract: Introduction: The lack of diversity among faculty at universities and medical schools in the United States is a matter of growing concern. At universities in the US, underrepresented minority (URM) researchers make up a mere 3.5% of the faculty in the life sciences and just 6.3% of the faculty in basic science departments at medical schools (Lambert et al., 2020). Women also remain underrepresented, accounting for only 39% of the faculty in the life sciences at universities and 35% of the faculty in basic science departments at medical schools (Association of American Medical Colleges, 2017; National Science Foundation, 2019). We hypothesize that there are a significant number of postdoctoral researchers with aspirations of becoming faculty members in academia, but many seek nonacademic careers due to uncharacterized influences.

Methods: Based on psycho-social theories for career development and motivation, we developed and conducted a survey to examine the factors that influence commitment to or divergence from conventional academic research careers with 1284 biomedical postdocs across the United States. To further elucidate the benefits, challenges, and strategies for pursuing an academic career, 994 responses were qualitatively analyzed using both content and thematic analyses. 177 unique codes, 20 categories, and 10 subthemes emerged from the data and were generalized into two thematic areas: Life in Academia and Strategies for Success.

Results: We reveal four main outcomes that were largely undefined in the field. (1) The first two years of postdoctoral training are pivotal in the retention of women and URM postdocs in the academic research pipeline. (2) The likelihood of biomedical postdocs choosing an academic research career increases as financial security, mentorship from their PI and their sense of self-worth increase. (3) Unlike their colleagues, many URM postdocs do not expect to associate with the people that they value most in a research-intensive faculty position. (4) We also find that female postdocs reported lower research self-efficacy (belief in research abilities) and lower outcome expectations (belief in the outcomes of research efforts) than men, which also significantly predicts first-author publication rates.

Conclusions and Discussion: Multiple factors are responsible for URM and female postdocs not choosing to pursue careers in academic research, including the low expectation of finding people of similar background or like-values in academia. For women, lower self-efficacy and outcome expectations compared to their male counterparts were strong predictors for choosing non-academic careers. Interventions addressing such factors in the early stages of postdoctoral training may prevent attrition of underrepresented groups. For advisors and institutions, this work provides a unique perspective from postdoctoral scholars on elements of the academic training path that can be improved to increase retention, career satisfaction, and preparation for the scientific workforce.

Acknowledgements: We acknowledge the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (Award Number UL1TR002384) for support.
Science Self-Efficacy, Academic Self-Concept, and Their Associated Factors in Freshmen at a Historically Black University
Shiva Mehravaran, Morgan State University
Hamideh Taraji, Morgan State University
Christine Hohmann, Morgan State University
Payam Sheikhattari, Morgan State University
Farin Kamangar, Morgan State University
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. Students' perceptions of their capabilities and confidence in performing necessary tasks is an important and essential asset that contributes to the enrichment of students' knowledge and skills (Bandura, 1997). Educational institutions are increasingly recognizing the role of science self-efficacy (SSE) and academic self-concept (ASC) in academic motivation, and learning (Artino, 2012) and their importance for college student success (Meral, Colak, & Zereyak, 2012). This study was conducted to examine SSE and ASC and identify their associated factors among freshmen at a historically Black university.
Methods. The 2018 Freshman Survey developed by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) was administered to incoming first-year students at the beginning of the Fall semester at Morgan State University, Maryland, USA. Additional information was retrieved from the institutional database at the end of Fall 2020 semester. We examined associations of SSE and ASC scores with background information (gender, race/ethnicity, first generation status, financial concern, degree aspiration, academic major), scores on other main CIRP constructs (Pluralistic Orientation, Habits of Mind, Social Self-Concept, Science Identity, Social Agency, and Likelihood of College Involvement), and academic outcome metrics (persistence, cumulative GPA, and cumulative course completion rate) up to Fall 2020.
Results. Of the 472 students included in the study, 327 (69.3%) were female and 417 (88.3%) were African American. Mean SSE and ASC percentage scores were 68.6% and 73.5%, respectively. Multiple regressions analyses with background variables showed that a higher SSE score was associated with male gender, having no financial concern, and certain majors (Nursing and Biology). A higher ASC score was associated with having no financial concern and being a graduate aspirant, and it was significantly lower in Psychology majors. Across majors, the inter-gender difference was greatest in Computer Science where females had lower SSE and ASC scores. SSE and ASC significantly correlated with each other and all the other CIRP constructs examined in this study. Students with higher ASC scores had significantly higher GPA at the end of their first semester. In the long-term, students with higher SSE and ASC scores were more likely to persist to their 2nd and 3rd years, although the associations were statistically significant for SSE only. Both SSE and ASC showed inverse associations with 3rd year academic outcomes, and higher scores were associated with lower cumulative GPA and course completion rates and vice versa; only the association between SSE and Fall 2020 cumulate GPA was statistically significant.
Conclusion. In this detailed analysis of data from freshman in a historically Black university, differences in the levels of students' SSE and ASC were found to be strongly related to their gender, financial status, choice of major, as well as their scores in other CIRP constructs examined in this study. Students who persisted to their 2nd and 3rd years of study had significantly higher baseline SSE and ASC scores, but their GPA and course completion rates seemed to have an inverse relationship. Further longitudinal studies can help understand how SSE, ASC, and other CIRP constructs can be used as predictors of academic success and in case-control studies. Overall, results identified certain areas that should be of interest to other researchers who aim to inform educational policies and interventions to overcome barriers towards academic and career success.
Acknowledgements. This research was supported by ASCEND Center for Biomedical Research at Morgan State University and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number UL1GM118973. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
3:20 PM - 5:00 PM: Poster Sessions 15-30
Implementing EduGuidance Intervention in a Time of COVID-19
Peter Golding, University of Texas at El Paso
Diane Golding, University of Texas at El Paso
Irma Torres Catanach, University of Texas at El Paso
Victor Garcia, University of Texas at El Paso
Helen Geller, University of Texas at El Paso
Anakaren Jimenez Enciso, University of Texas at El Paso
Carla Ann Navar, University of Texas at El Paso
 
 
Abstract: We report on recent innovations in online mentoring of entering university engineering students. The interventions were implemented in Fall 2020, to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic, using online mentoring that we call educational guidance. The guidance proceeds through asynchronous counseling and guidance, using "EduGuide." EduGuide is an evidence-based online mentoring program that incorporates collaborative social and emotional learning activities. We used it to support and track changes in student's academic attitudes, engagement behavior, and achievement over the course of the Fall 2020 semester.
The intervention is a partnership between the STEMGROW Program and the Yes SHE Can Program at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). These interdisciplinary programs aim to support STEM graduation rates. STEMGROW supports students at the El Paso Community College (EPCC), a two-year institution, graduating and transferring to a four-year institution (UTEP), while the Yes SHE Can program aims to implement new engagement techniques, mentoring approaches, professional development opportunities, and career pathways to leverage the preparation, education, and career development of underrepresented minority (URM) student groups in STEM academic programs, especially Hispanic female students. The main intervention activity consisted of incorporating the Mentoring Community of the Yes SHE Can program into the STEMGROW Programs asynchronous online education EduGuide innovation platform.
The mentoring component within EduGuide was carried out by professional and near-Peer mentors. The mentors actively coached the entering engineering students, who were enrolled in a Foundations in Engineering core course at UTEP. Following the completion of the course and the semester-long use of EduGuide, the stakeholder students provided feedback and insights on the impact of the experiences, by responding to open-ended self-reflection prompts. The feedback is overwhelmingly positive, indicating that the process was valuable, especially in the time of COVID-19.
Using Long-term Follow-up Data to Understand and Refine Utility-Value Interventions in the Biomedical Sciences
Judith Harackiewicz, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Emily Rosenzweig, University of Georgia
 
 
Abstract: Interest plays a major role in STEM motivation. Our research is based in introductory biology classes for pre-health majors, where students start out with high levels of interest. The course is challenging, however, and we test interventions (based in expectancy-value theory [Eccles & Wigfield, 2002]) to help underrepresented students perform better. Both competence beliefs and values are critically important, but we intervene on value, and test competence beliefs as moderators. Different outcomes reflect different motivational processes, and we use different measures to study students' performance in gateway science classes and persistence in STEM. We know that these value-focused interventions can promote students' performance and engagement in the targeted biology classes (Harackiewicz et al., 2016). We have now begun to analyze long-term follow-up data from biology students in order to shed light on intervention processes and inform the design of future interventions (Harackiewicz & Priniski, 2018).

First, we conducted a two-year follow-up of a utility-value intervention (UVI) with 1039 students, examining subsequent course-taking and whether students had chosen biomedical majors. The original study (Harackiewicz et al., 2016) had found that the UVI improved course grades for all students, as well as for underrepresented students, by promoting engagement. In the follow-up (Hecht et al., 2019), students who were more confident that they could succeed in the course were more likely to persist in biomedical fields if they had received the UVI (a classic expectancy-value effect), and this effect was mediated by higher levels of personal relevance in students' writing assignments (a linguistic measure). We also found that the UVI increased persistence through the original effects on course grades, for all students, and for underrepresented students in particular. In other words, engagement was more relevant for performance (with clear implications for persistence in the biomedical pipeline), but a focus on personal relevance (for confident students) was most relevant for academic choices over time. These data help shed light on the different motivational processes that underly the efficacy of the UVI for different groups of students.

Second, we conducted two large-scale interview studies (Rosenzweig et al., 2021, Rosenzweig et al., in press), to examine students' long-term interests in biomedical fields throughout college and how that translated into different career trajectories. We identified 1193 students from the introductory biology courses who intended to pursue biomedical fields of study early in college, and then interviewed them at the time of college graduation about their future plans (a 2-3 year follow-up). If students had changed their career plans since beginning college, we examined their explanations for changing their plans, specifically looking at (1) whether students who left biomedical fields referenced competence beliefs or value and (2) whether they felt pushed out or became disenchanted with their original path, or attracted to another path (e.g., pulled away by interest in another field). As shown below (Figure 1), there were 196 students who left biomedical fields of study during college, 76 who remained in biomedical fields of study but did not intend to pursue biomedical career paths post-graduation, and 921 who remained in biomedical fields and planned to pursue biomedical career paths. However, among the 921 who remained in biomedical fields, 422 (46%) still changed their career plans. We therefore examined two kinds of change: leaving biomedical fields altogether (e.g., changing to pre-law), or changing within the pipeline (e.g., changing from pre-med to biology PhD). With respect to leaving the pipeline we found results consistent with previous research: underrepresented ethnic minority students (African American, Latinx, or Native American students in this sample) were more likely to leave the biomedical pipeline. A different pattern emerged for change within the pipeline: There were no differences as a function of race/ethnicity, but women were more likely to change plans than men.

We coded students interviews and found that among students who left biomedical fields of study altogether, 62.5% reported changing primarily due to disenchantment, referencing both low interest and low perceived competence in biomedical fields. However, 25.2% of students who left primarily changed plans because felt pulled towards alternative fields of study, with almost all of them referencing a growing interest in other fields. Among those who remained in biomedical fields but changed plans, 34.8% reported disenchantment with their original plan, whereas 49.5% reported attraction, with most students referencing changing plans due to value and interest. Results highlight the importance of value and interest in shaping students' educational decision-making, underscoring the critical role of value-focused interventions in introductory biology courses. They also point to an important future direction for such interventions, focusing on the relative value of one career path or field of study compared to one another, as opposed to focusing only on value for one particular field.

Although it is not always easy to collect long-term follow up data from interventions, this data provides critical insights that can inform both theoretical understandings of motivation and more specific understandings of when and how to intervene to support students' motivation in pursuing biomedical careers. The follow-up of the utility value intervention explores the different processes by which reflecting on value can shape diverse students' learning outcomes and persistence in the field; the long-term interview data explores how students reflect on their own motivation in a way that can drive future intervention design.
Research Experiences in Classroom and their Impacts on Biology Freshmen at an HBCU
Shubha Ireland, Xavier University of Louisiana
Mary Carmichael, Xavier University of Louisiana
Joanna Haye, Xavier University of Louisiana
Hector Biliran, Xavier University of Louisiana
Andrea Edwards, Xavier University of Louisiana
Monica Mitchell, MERAssociates
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP), through Targeted Infusion Projects (TIPs), provides support to achieve short-term, well-defined goals to improve undergraduate STEM education. In the current TIP at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA), two freshman lab courses have been redesigned as Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs). Merits of early research experiences are well documented (Dolan, 2016), yet fewer than 10% of XULA Biology freshmen have research opportunities in their first year. The XULA TIP aims at bridging this gap by infusing two authentic research projects in two foundational labs in Biology. The first, the 'Yeast ORFan' project, in collaboration with Juanita College, PA, aims at studying yeast 'ORFans' (genes of unknown function). The second, in collaboration with the USDA SRRC, LA, is centered on the phenotypic and genotypic characterization of an Aspergillus (fungal mold) species known to damage food crops. Although CUREs are gaining attention for their ability to offer research opportunities in a classroom setting (Dolan, 2016), few undergraduate minority-serving institutions have established CUREs as part of their curricula. There is, therefore, a great need to study CUREs and their impacts on underrepresented minority (URMs) students' attitudes towards Biology, learning, retention, and their desire to pursue careers in STEM in general. The XULA CURE infusion project is the first of its kind at an HBCU (XULA) and the results of this intervention/newer way of teaching will enhance our knowledge in the area of science education.
Methods. Two established courses (Biol 1210L and Biol 1220L), meeting once/week for 1 credit hour and required for all Biology majors, were redesigned as CUREs. The student population consisted of ~ 240 students per semester; ~ 85% were URMs and ~ 70% were female. The overarching goal was to introduce students to scientific competencies using interdisciplinary concepts and 'do-able', real-life research projects with the above-mentioned yeast and mold as model systems. Data were collected by instructors in the form of student feedback, class participation, assignments, in-class computer work and the application of knowledge in lab experiments and on quizzes. Data were also collected by the external evaluator using assessments such as the Biological Experimental Design Concept Inventory (BEDCI, Deane et al., 2014) and the 'Science Motivation Questionnaire' (Glynn et al., 2011).
Results. In year one (Fall 2019-Spring 2020), only the Fall 2019 semester was 100% in person since these were 'normal', pre-COVID-19 pandemic conditions and students gained research experience with the yeast ORFan project. Instructors noted early on that, although students enjoyed the flexible format of hands-on lab work combined with data analysis, etc., the weekly two hour session did not provide enough time to teach lab skills and research-related scientific content, allow students to practice, learn troubleshooting, reflect on experimental design, conduct experiments, record results and understand their significance. Nevertheless, the combined hard work of both the CURE faculty and students demonstrated a pattern of improved academic performance on the four common (identical) quizzes. For example, in four sections taught by the same instructor, students in one section consistently underperformed at the start of the semester (on Quizzes 1 and 2), but their scores improved steadily until, by Quiz 4, their scores were indistinguishable from those of the students in other sections (unpublished data). Students also were evaluated on lab skills, experimental work, and group presentations. Lastly, based on the external evaluator's analysis, students showed gains in four of the five assessed areas of biology motivation (intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, self-determination, and career motivation, unpublished data). In mid-March, 2020, the threat of COVID-19 caused the University to shut down overnight. Students were forced to leave, and some had no place to live. Many students and faculty lost their loved ones or became infected with the virus. The remaining weeks of the Spring 2020 semester were taught exclusively online; instructors conducted Zoom class meetings while developing a completely new style of teaching and communicating. Fortunately, since the courses were designed to focus on many lab skills early on, the online transition, while not optimal, still allowed for about 75-80% of the projects to be covered. Both year two semesters (Fall 2020-Spring 2021) were taught as 'hybrid' courses (at least 50% in person) with extremely strict COVID-19 guidelines. The XULA team developed novel strategies, including preparing in-house videos for the group that was on 'Zoom' to study, while the other group was in the lab. At the time that this abstract was submitted (May 2021), year two had just ended. All of our strategies, results, and outcomes will be discussed during the conference workshop or poster session.
Conclusions and Discussion. Preliminary analysis of year two suggests that while students appreciated the efforts of the CURE team during the COVID-19 pandemic, their morale overall was down. Our students were used to seeing their instructors and advisors in person. While the hybrid model is better than being all online, most students prefer in person learning. Some have confessed that they tend to get lazy and not pay attention since Zoom recordings can be made available. However, things are looking up and XULA plans to move back to all in person instruction. Year one results have demonstrated positive trends in most evaluative areas and year three (Fall 2021-Spring 2022) should provide even more insights. In conclusion, our working hypothesis remains that providing meaningful research experiences early on to all URM Biology majors can positively impact their self-confidence and desire to stay in STEM. Findings from our study will also advance the understanding of this type of intervention and provide a roadmap for other minority-serving institutions who might want to implement it.
Acknowledgments.
NSF HBCU-UP TIP Program [Award Number 1912437, P.I. Shubha K. Ireland (SKI)].
The Xavier Eminent Scholar XXXVIII Professorship to SKI (Louisiana Board of Regents supported).
Dr. Jill Keeney, Biology, Juniata College, PA 16652 (collaborator/guide, the yeast ORFan project).
Dr. Jeff Cary and scientists at the USDA, SRRC, LA 70124 (collaborators/guides, the Aspergillus project).
Two years of mentorship in Culturally Adaptive Pathways to Success
Matthew Jackson, Cal State, LA
EunYoung Kang
 
 
Abstract: Introduction.
With support from NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM), the Culturally Adaptive Pathway to Success (CAPS) program aims to build an inclusive pathway to accelerate graduation for academically talented, low-income students in Engineering and Computer Science majors at Cal State LA. The campus context primarily serves underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students in the Los Angeles area. The student body demographics are such that 63% are underrepresented minority (URM) students; 60% are first-generation college students; and 70% of the students are Pell grant eligible and need to work for more than 20 hours per week to support themselves. Within the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology, the average graduation rates (since 2007) are: 4 years: 4.1%, 5 years: 23.1%, and 6 years: 40.1%. The CAPS program seeks to improve on these levels of student achievement by scaffolding student development with multiple supports.
The CAPS program aims to develop social and career competence in our students via three integrated interventions: (1) Mentor+, an advising strategy that trains mentors to engage with students in relation to their academic work, and the connections between work and community. For example, in 2020 the CAPS program developed an online growth mindset training for faculty mentors. This online course established definitions, used active learning techniques to have mentors assess their own mindsets, provided evidence that students perform better when exposed to growth mindsets and that such exposure has been shown to help reduce achievement gaps for underrepresented students , and finally provided examples and practice opportunities in communicating growth mindsets to students. (2) Second CAPS established peer cohorts, providing a structure for social support among students and training models of peer mentorship (3) Finally, CAPS structures professional development from faculty who have been trained to support students with a holistic understanding of the antecedents of college success. To ensure success of these interventions, the CAPS program places great emphasis on developing culturally responsive advisement methods and training faculty mentors to facilitate creating a culture of culturally adaptive advising.

Methods.
The CAPS program recruited 2 consecutive cohorts of scholars. In total, there are 24 scholars (19 underrepresented minority, 8 women) across civil engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. The success of the CAPS program will ultimately be determined by the improved graduation rates of the involved scholars, with measures of professional identity and GPA serving as intermediate guideposts. To assess these metrics, both qualitative and quantitative data collections occurred. Online surveys were administered to both cohorts of CAPS scholars, assessing the impact of the CAPS program, engineering/computer science identity, and career plans. A second group of students who are not CAPS scholars - and matched on the academic qualifications that made students eligible for the CAPS scholarship, but not financial need - were recruited for the purpose of comparison in regards to the engineering/computer science identity and career plans.



Results.
CAPS students are progressing faster than non-CAPS students academically. 85% of scholars were retained at through Summer 2020 (2 became academically ineligible, and 2 transferred to different universities). Further, 100% of retained scholars are expected to achieve 5 year graduation. 30% of the first cohort are expected to achieve 4 year graduation. 50% of the second cohort are expected to achieve 4 year graduation. This is compared to average graduation rates of 4% achieving 4 year graduation and 23% achieving 5 year graduation.

Table 1. GPA CAPS NON CAPS
GPA Spring 2019 3.31 3.45
Spring 2020 3.47 3.39
Professional Identity
e.g., "I have come to think of myself as an 'engineer' Spring 2019 3.90 3.87
Spring 2020 4.10 3.83

Conclusions and Discussion.
The trends in both GPA and Professional Identity provide evidence of the benefits of the CAPS program. After the first year, CAPS scholars had lower GPA's than a group of comparably students who had completed the academic prerequisites of the program, but less overall financial need. But by the second year of the program, CAPS scholars' GPA exceeded that of their matched counterparts. In addition, CAPS scholars' professional identity has consistently been marginally higher compared to their peers. The qualitative data obtained from the faculty mentor and student mentee focus groups reveal several sustained successes in communicating the initial expectations for the program, and for establishing initial contact between mentors and new mentees. Scholars report a high level of satisfaction with the program and report financial, social (i.e. peer group formation), and academic benefits. Faculty also report satisfaction with their participation, including greater facility in holistic mentorship. Mentors cited benefits including an improved understanding of cultural differences and a greater ease in having conversations about how a student's academic life intersects with their family and community engagement. The results of the study suggest that others looking to support low income underrepresented students could benefit from pairing financial support with mentors trained to consider the experiences of economically and racially diverse student populations, as well as providing infrastructure for the development of peer mentorship groups.

Acknowledgments.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1742614.
Enhancing the STEM and Health Care Pipeline
Ivan Lamas-Sanchez, University of Maryland Baltimore
Martina Efeyini, University of Maryland Baltimore
 
 
Abstract: Ivan Lamas-Sanchez1, Martina Efeyini2

1University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21201
2University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 21201

Email: [email protected]; [email protected]
Keywords: STEM pipeline, diversity, underrepresented, college access, mentorship, role models
______________________________________________________________

Abstract

Introduction
The University of Maryland Baltimore CURE Scholars Program is a groundbreaking year-round pipeline program that prepares sixth- to 12th-grade students in West Baltimore for competitive and rewarding research, STEM, and health care career opportunities. The Continuing Umbrella of Research Experience (CURE) is a National Cancer Institute funded research training and career-development initiative that focuses on sustaining the pipeline of students from underrepresented groups in the biomedical sciences. There are currently 130+ scholars in the program and 26 scholars in the Career Navigators Program. During their middle school years and lower high school years, scholars are placed in curriculum tracks based on their career interests, including robotics, food chemistry/forensics and anatomy. In the upper high school years, scholars are placed in the Career Navigators component where they focus on college and career exploration and preparation. This presentation demonstrates how the UMB CURE Scholars Program is making a difference in the leaking STEM pipeline.

Methods
The only entry-point into the UMB CURE Scholars is in 6th grade when students are transitioning from elementary to middle school. The UMB CURE Scholars Program tracks and collects data on scholars' career interests, attendance at co-curricular programming, and academic performance at their respective high schools. Our inaugural cohort scholars are juniors in high school, progressing to be seniors in the Fall of 2021.

Results
We have 45% of scholars who have healthcare interests followed by science, engineering, and other fields. To expose students, we have hosted 8 of college virtual tours and 4 spotlight career sessions to demonstrate the diversity of STEM careers and professions. Our project/presentation was on our 6th - 12th grade pipeline program and what we have done to enhance the STEM pipeline (i.e., STEM exposure, hands-on activities, positive mentorship, college and career exposure, financial literacy, etc). Currently we do not have outcomes as our scholars are still in high school; however, next year will be the first year we will have scholars graduating.

Conclusions and Discussion
This work is still ongoing, but we anticipate that 100% of our scholars will matriculate into institutions of higher education and pursue STEM majors.

Acknowledgments
This program was supported by the Edward St. John's Foundation, Summer Funding Collaborative, and other private donors.
Factors that affect postdoctoral trainee persistence in academia
W. Marcus Lambert, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Avelino Amado, Weill Cornell Graduate School
 
 
Abstract: Introduction: The lack of diversity among faculty at universities and medical schools in the United States is a matter of growing concern. At universities in the US, underrepresented minority (URM) researchers make up a mere 3.5% of the faculty in the life sciences and just 6.3% of the faculty in basic science departments at medical schools (Lambert et al., 2020). Women also remain underrepresented, accounting for only 39% of the faculty in the life sciences at universities and 35% of the faculty in basic science departments at medical schools (Association of American Medical Colleges, 2017; National Science Foundation, 2019). We hypothesize that there are a significant number of postdoctoral researchers with aspirations of becoming faculty members in academia, but many seek nonacademic careers due to uncharacterized influences.

Methods: Based on psycho-social theories for career development and motivation, we developed and conducted a survey to examine the factors that influence commitment to or divergence from conventional academic research careers with 1284 biomedical postdocs across the United States. To further elucidate the benefits, challenges, and strategies for pursuing an academic career, 994 responses were qualitatively analyzed using both content and thematic analyses. 177 unique codes, 20 categories, and 10 subthemes emerged from the data and were generalized into two thematic areas: Life in Academia and Strategies for Success.

Results: We reveal four main outcomes that were largely undefined in the field. (1) The first two years of postdoctoral training are pivotal in the retention of women and URM postdocs in the academic research pipeline. (2) The likelihood of biomedical postdocs choosing an academic research career increases as financial security, mentorship from their PI and their sense of self-worth increase. (3) Unlike their colleagues, many URM postdocs do not expect to associate with the people that they value most in a research-intensive faculty position. (4) We also find that female postdocs reported lower research self-efficacy (belief in research abilities) and lower outcome expectations (belief in the outcomes of research efforts) than men, which also significantly predicts first-author publication rates.

Conclusions and Discussion: Multiple factors are responsible for URM and female postdocs not choosing to pursue careers in academic research, including the low expectation of finding people of similar background or like-values in academia. For women, lower self-efficacy and outcome expectations compared to their male counterparts were strong predictors for choosing non-academic careers. Interventions addressing such factors in the early stages of postdoctoral training may prevent attrition of underrepresented groups. For advisors and institutions, this work provides a unique perspective from postdoctoral scholars on elements of the academic training path that can be improved to increase retention, career satisfaction, and preparation for the scientific workforce.

Acknowledgements: We acknowledge the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (Award Number UL1TR002384) for support.
Science Self-Efficacy, Academic Self-Concept, and Their Associated Factors in Freshmen at a Historically Black University
Shiva Mehravaran, Morgan State University
Hamideh Taraji, Morgan State University
Christine Hohmann, Morgan State University
Payam Sheikhattari, Morgan State University
Faran Kamangar, Morgan State University
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. Students' perceptions of their capabilities and confidence in performing necessary tasks is an important and essential asset that contributes to the enrichment of students' knowledge and skills (Bandura, 1997). Educational institutions are increasingly recognizing the role of science self-efficacy (SSE) and academic self-concept (ASC) in academic motivation, and learning (Artino, 2012) and their importance for college student success (Meral, Colak, & Zereyak, 2012). This study was conducted to examine SSE and ASC and identify their associated factors among freshmen at a historically Black university.
Methods. The 2018 Freshman Survey developed by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) was administered to incoming first-year students at the beginning of the Fall semester at Morgan State University, Maryland, USA. Additional information was retrieved from the institutional database at the end of Fall 2020 semester. We examined associations of SSE and ASC scores with background information (gender, race/ethnicity, first generation status, financial concern, degree aspiration, academic major), scores on other main CIRP constructs (Pluralistic Orientation, Habits of Mind, Social Self-Concept, Science Identity, Social Agency, and Likelihood of College Involvement), and academic outcome metrics (persistence, cumulative GPA, and cumulative course completion rate) up to Fall 2020.
Results. Of the 472 students included in the study, 327 (69.3%) were female and 417 (88.3%) were African American. Mean SSE and ASC percentage scores were 68.6% and 73.5%, respectively. Multiple regressions analyses with background variables showed that a higher SSE score was associated with male gender, having no financial concern, and certain majors (Nursing and Biology). A higher ASC score was associated with having no financial concern and being a graduate aspirant, and it was significantly lower in Psychology majors. Across majors, the inter-gender difference was greatest in Computer Science where females had lower SSE and ASC scores. SSE and ASC significantly correlated with each other and all the other CIRP constructs examined in this study. Students with higher ASC scores had significantly higher GPA at the end of their first semester. In the long-term, students with higher SSE and ASC scores were more likely to persist to their 2nd and 3rd years, although the associations were statistically significant for SSE only. Both SSE and ASC showed inverse associations with 3rd year academic outcomes, and higher scores were associated with lower cumulative GPA and course completion rates and vice versa; only the association between SSE and Fall 2020 cumulate GPA was statistically significant.
Conclusion. In this detailed analysis of data from freshman in a historically Black university, differences in the levels of students' SSE and ASC were found to be strongly related to their gender, financial status, choice of major, as well as their scores in other CIRP constructs examined in this study. Students who persisted to their 2nd and 3rd years of study had significantly higher baseline SSE and ASC scores, but their GPA and course completion rates seemed to have an inverse relationship. Further longitudinal studies can help understand how SSE, ASC, and other CIRP constructs can be used as predictors of academic success and in case-control studies. Overall, results identified certain areas that should be of interest to other researchers who aim to inform educational policies and interventions to overcome barriers towards academic and career success.
Acknowledgements. This research was supported by ASCEND Center for Biomedical Research at Morgan State University and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number UL1GM118973. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
UAMS Summer Undergraduate Research Intervention to Increase Diversity in Research
Latrina Prince, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Tremaine Williams, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Antino Allen, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Billy Thomas, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Robert McGehee, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. The lack of diversity among researchers and health care professionals is a major contributor to health disparities (Bouye et al., 2016; Ossep-Asare et al., 2018; Smith et al, 2009).1-3 The need for a diverse, culturally competent health care workforce is important for addressing and eventually reducing health and healthcare disparities (Jackson & Garcia, 2014; Perez & Hirschman, 2009). The UAMS Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) was implemented in 2012 to increase the diversity of students entering research and health professional professions. The overall program goal is to provide underrepresented minority (URM) and disadvantaged students with research, mentoring, and networking experiences; real-life surgical observations; and simulated cardiovascular demonstrations to increase their interest in cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic research professions. The purpose of this project was to assess program outcomes, and explore ways of improving the program.

Methods. A follow-up survey was emailed to all former program participants in spring 2020 (N = 88). The online survey consisted of 37 multiple choice and open-ended questions: demographics, questions regarding education and career choices after program completion, and feedback on program strengths and weaknesses. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and frequencies. The qualitative data was summarized in tables or paragraphs. The Institutional Review Board reviewed and approved the project prior to implementation.

Results. Survey responses were received from 44.3% (n = 39) of the total number of SURP participants (n = 88). Overall, 59% (n = 23) of respondents stated that the SURP influenced their career goals. Seventy-nine percent (n = 31) of respondents completed at least a bachelor's degree; those that have not completed at least a bachelor's degree are currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program. When asked about the relationship with their SURP mentor, 69.3% (n = 27) responded that their mentor-mentee interactions were excellent or good, and 61.5% (n = 24) reported that they have maintained contact with their mentor after their summer research experience. Lastly, 79% (n = 31) stated that their summer research experience was excellent or good, and 84.6% (n = 33) would recommend the program to other students.

Conclusions and Discussion. Results from this follow-up survey confirm that the SURP has been successful at providing UMR and disadvantaged students with positive summer research experiences, long-term mentor-mentee relationships, and influenced educational and/or career goals. Programs that expose URM and disadvantaged students to basic, clinical, and/or translational research experiences are beneficial for stimulating interest in research and health-related careers.
Mentored Learning Communities to Enhance Diversity in STEM and Medicine
Carla Romney, Boston University School of Medicine
Andrew Grosovsky, University of Massachusetts, Boston
 
 
Abstract: STEM, medicine, and other STEM-intensive health professions are disciplinary areas (referred to here as STEM+) that lack diversity, undoubtedly reflecting many underlying issues in these disciplines as well as in society. Perhaps most important are disparities in access to high quality pre-college STEM education, since they lead to deep and persistent societal inequities. These disparities are especially evident in the STEM+ disciplines and are exacerbated by the strongly hierarchical organization of knowledge and practice in these fields. A strong foundation in pre-collegiate education provides a significant advantage, enabling strong performance in undergraduate programs, which in turn facilitates successful application into highly competitive graduate and professional STEM+ programs. There are many shortfalls in every stage of this pathway that impact the success of minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

The consequences of the lack of diversity in the STEM+ fields are wide-ranging and significant. Students who are educated in low-resource, underperforming K-12 environments often cannot access STEM curricula that are based on best pedagogical practices and face extraordinary challenges during the early years of their undergraduate education trying to catch up to their peers who had stronger pre-college STEM educational experiences. Students who come from under-resourced backgrounds often have few opportunities to glimpse the transformative advantages of a STEM+ career, leading to the perpetuation of significant societal inequities. The lack of diversity also directly impacts the STEM+ disciplines in several negative ways. The STEM+ practitioner community in the workforce is affected by an insufficient variety of lived experiences and is unable to draw upon the wealth and breadth of knowledge possessed by people who identify as having different cultural, racial, linguistic, religious, gender and sexual identity, and socioeconomic backgrounds. As a result, the perspectives brought to bear on problems may be too narrow in scope. There is ample evidence that suggests that scientific productivity is negatively impacted when a research team lacks diversity, as measured by publication data (Freeman & Huang, 2015). In addition, outreach to disadvantaged communities and efforts to provide assistance to them may not be optimally designed, or even appropriately prioritized (Page, 2008).

Here, we focus on the mechanisms that assist STEM+ students to overcome socioeconomic and educational disadvantages. We emphasize the importance of mentoring in diverse and inclusive learning communities since our underlying rationale is that diverse populations of successful undergraduates are essential for creating professional diversity in the future STEM+ workforce.

Due to the hierarchical nature of the STEM curriculum, it is crucial that entering undergraduate students who evince interest in a STEM+ career immediately establish foundations that support their success in subsequent curricular offerings and promote extracurricular opportunities for personal and professional development. Disadvantaged students are at high risk at this crucial point in their educational pathway, since they are entering an environmental that is often unfamiliar and may even be intimidating. Recognition of these needs has led to the establishment of learning communities, a term with a variety of meanings and practical implementations. We use the term learning communities to refer to diverse, small subgroups of an entering class of STEM+ students that are deliberately designed to support the personal, educational, and social needs of these students. In our experience, STEM+ learning communities provide important advantages for new freshmen.

This is a partial abstract. The full abstract is formatted in the attachment.
Impact of Course Redesign Implementation on Student Success and Ongoing Pedagogical Practices
Corinna Singleman, Queens College, CUNY
Sabrina Avila, Queens College, CUNY
Patrick Johnson, Queens College, CUNY
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. The focus of the STEM Bridges Across Eastern Queens project intervention is the redesign of introductory STEM courses with the goal of increasing retention in STEM of under-represented minority students. A primary outcome is identifying implementation fidelity related to student academic performance. In the absence of treatment fidelity data, it is impossible to know the true cause of both positive and negative outcomes. Further, continued and modified interventions in response to positive outcomes is hindered by lack of fidelity data. According to a 2019 review of the implementation fidelity literature (Hill & Erickson, 2019), there are at least three types of fidelity: structural, process, and dose. Structural fidelity refers to implementation adherence to factors such as staffing levels and frequency of contact, while process fidelity relates to provider-client interactions as well as client to client interactions (O'Donnell, 2008). Dose fidelity specifies the extent to which an intervention program was ultimately available to those who were meant to implement it (Dusenbury et al., 2003). This project primarily focuses on dose fidelity and the extent to which instructors actually implemented the intervention as designed. The study population included undergraduate students at a two-year or four-year college enrolled in treatment or control introductory STEM courses in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, and/or Physics.

Methods. The analytic sample through fall 19 comprises 6,979 unique students with course GPAs from study sections across an array of treatment- and control-assigned sections each term. Of these, 3802 or 56% were enrolled at the two-year college and 2968 or 44% were enrolled at the four-year college. Each term, lists of eligible sections from included study courses are provided to the project evaluator for random assignment to study conditions. Students self-selected their course sections without knowledge of section assignment. Faculty from included departments actively engaged in course redesign workshops, semester-embedded faculty development opportunities, and professional development supports which have been expanded over time, as per faculty requests.

Results. Treatment and control section instructors completed implementation fidelity surveys to determine the extent to which each section is offered in compliance with its random assignment. Compliance fidelity was scored as full implementation, partial implementation, or no implementation, and it was noted where data were unavailable. For most course sections, treatment implementation was full or partial and control sections were no implementation or 'no data', which were considered as no implementation in analysis.

Analysis of semester-to-semester retention within study courses shows significantly higher rates for treatment than control students between successive semesters from the fall 2018 to spring 2020 term. Students in treatment-assigned sections scored higher than their control classmates.

Conclusions and Discussion. While intervention implementation fidelity has been an important consideration for studies in fields such as medicine and mental health treatment, usage in higher education research has been limited. Yet as our study reveals, there are practical advantages in the information they can provide to various higher education stakeholders, including faculty who are planning and teaching effective course enhancements, and administrators who are devising strategic student retention initiatives. The implementation fidelity surveys were developed for faculty to remain accountable to the project's objectives but eventually to better capture a snapshot of just-in-time teaching during the academic semester and track the changes in teaching practice and mindset after implementation. These surveys provide quantitative data, including compliance scores to better assess redesign activities, and qualitative data such as faculty perspectives on successful curriculum enhancements, what evidence-based teaching methods are being utilized, and how student peer mentors engage with their classmates and instructors through open-ended reflections. Over the course of this project, the results of implementation surveys have evolved into a formative needs-assessment as they communicated increasing requests from faculty participants for opportunities to improve their pedagogy and to collaborate with their colleagues across both campuses to develop and share teaching practices and resources. Figure 1 shows the addition of faculty interventions across the life of the project, all of which have stemmed from faculty requests.

Acknowledgements. This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Education Grant PO31C160208. We would like to thank the faculty, peer mentors, and students involved with this project.
Partnership Advancing Equity in STEM Through a Virtual STEM Platform & Wrap-Around Services Model
Idris Stovall, Mathematical Sciences Institute (MSI)
Chad Womack, United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
 
 
Abstract: Background and Motivation for UNCF STEM Scholars Program

The motivation for the design, development and implementation of the UNCF STEM Scholars Program was borne out of the observation that there were few programs that specifically targeted high achieving/performing African American high school students who were committed to majoring in STEM and pursuing careers in science and technology while supporting them holistically throughout their undergraduate matriculation and empowering them through entrepreneurship. The design of the program recognizes that high performing African American STEM-oriented students still face challenges and obstacles that they face upon entering their undergraduate programs but takes a growth mindset approach in providing support for these students.

UNCF and MSI Partnership. The UNCF - MSI partnership grew out of the need to provide additional academic support - particularly in mathematics - for STEM Scholars students during their transition into their freshman year of college. After the first year of the program, the UNCF program staff recognized that while some scholars were able to make their transition seamlessly, approximately fifteen to twenty percent were struggling particularly in their freshman math courses (which ranged from Pre-Calculus to Multivariate Calculus). Out of concern for ensuring a successful transition, the UNCF staff began to consider ways in which academic services could be provided to those scholars who were struggling in a manner that was on-demand, structured and regularly scheduled as well as scalable - able to reach students on campuses across multiple time zones.

This led to UNCF reaching out to the MSI team to develop a partnership that would develop a platform-based solution and satisfy the aforementioned requirements. The STEM tutorial platform would enable the program to provide the interventions wherever they were needed for students who demonstrated a clear need for additional academic support. The partnership and platform-based approach was innovative and impactful demonstrating clear impacts for those students that have been engaged over several cohorts. In some ways, this partnership was ahead of its time choosing to adopt a virtual platform as the primary medium of communication and programmatic operations (Canvas, Schoology, Zoom, Google); this has proved to be an promising practice in the era of COVID-19 and its relevant effects on both educational environments but also individual students and staff.

Conceptual Framework. Several theories undergird this approach to partnership but are captured more broadly in the notion of BE-STEM (Black Excellence in STEM) that acknowledges the inherent intellectual capacity and contributions of African American students from an unapologetically anti-deficit framing (Figure 1). This approach is evident in the program development, partnership design and associated activities. Valencia (2010), describes deficit-thinking as a pseudoscientific approach that marginalizes and pathologizes vulnerable populations in ways that place blame on the individual and not the system.

A great deal of STEM research on students of color focuses on poor preparation, subpar performance, and unsatisfactory outcomes (McGee, 2018). Harper's (2010) Anti-deficit achievement framework for studying students of color in STEM converts commonly explored deficit-based questions on why so few students of color, including Black students, experience success in STEM fields.

Figure 1. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THEORY, CONCEPT AND PRACTICE

BE-STEM serves as the overarching orientation for both theory and practice. This motivates program development, implementation and design that is anti-deficit in thinking and doing. Th theoretical frameworks that form the foundation of the partnership and approach.

Partnership Structure. Over the past five cohorts of STEM Scholars, both organizations have worked diligently to define and refine a partnership with the following characteristics: (a) Academic support through the Virtual STEM Platform including summer pre-freshman programming (online courses, major & course advisory) along with discussion boards, curated resources, and group/individual tutoring during the academic year; (b) A pre-and -post assessment strategy utilized to measure academic content growth of the students in this wrap-around services model in the mathematical sciences: (c ) Community-building lead by real live African American researchers, professionals, and practitioners to ensure students' preparation and expectations are aligned with what they are likely to encounter post-graduation.

Through collective strategic planning & coordination, regular communication, and maintaining flexibility towards each other's programming - keeping the students central - has been key in the ongoing development of the Virtual STEM Platform and wrap-around services model between UNCF and MSI. That the partnership is rooted in same-race representation and support and has virtually unfettered reach addresses limitations seen in comparison programs.

Implications and Results of Partnership. Academic enrichment and community-building between African American students and African American mathematical scientists, educators, and related experts - all nationally dispersed at universities and organizations across the country - can be successfully connected using technology (Virtual STEM Platform) and a wrap-around services model with positive result on its first cohort of graduating students (85% persistence). UNCF - MSI actively pursuing other ways to partner, study, and scale to other programs and HBCUs within the UNCF portfolio and beyond.
The Building Up Intervention and Proposed Trial
Maya Thakar, University of Pittsburgh
Gretchen White, University of Pittsburgh
Natalie Morine, Boston University and Boston Medical Center
Andrew Althouse, University of Pittsburgh
Audrey Murrell, University of Pittsburgh
Jamie Doyle, National Institute of Health
Doris Rubio
 
 
Abstract: Introduction

The lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the biomedical research workforce and the disproportionate rate at which underrepresented (UR) biomedical researchers and faculty leave research positions are well-documented issues (McGee, Saran, & Krulwich, 2012; Milewicz, Lorenz, Dermody, Brass, et al., 2015; Gibbs & Griffin, 2013; Valantine, Lund, & Gammie, 2016). To address this issue, the Building Up a Diverse Workforce for Biomedical Research (Building Up, for short) trial aims to test the effectiveness of a career development intervention among 224 post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty who are UR in health-related sciences. This project focuses on the role Grit plays in persevering through the COVID-19 pandemic as a researcher from an UR background.

Grit is a combination of passion and perseverance, where passion refers to 'consistency over time'. (Duckworth, 2016) This is illustrated by Dr. Duckworth, who states that Grit is what predicts who will succeed at West Point, where 1 in 5 drop out before graduation. It is interesting to note that Grit was a better predictor of success than admission score (used to rank each applicant). Grit has also predicted who is more successful in sales, at a spelling bee, or in pursuit of higher education. (Duckworth, 2016) Given these findings, we wanted to determine if there was a difference in Grit across demographic characteristics of participants in Building Up. We hypothesized that Grit would be a predictor of response during a pandemic.

Methods

Participants completed the baseline assessment in September-October 2020 via REDCap prior to the start of the intervention. The assessment included questions on demographic characteristics, Grit, and impact of COVID-19 on their work and personal life. The response option for the impact of COVID-19 question was "check all that apply" and included items such as "decreased workload", "difficulties concentrating", "increased financial stress", "increased overall stress", "increased free time", and "more quality time with friends and family". Duckworth created and validated a 10 item Grit measure with responses ranging from 1-5. The responses are summed and averaged for a total Grit score. Example items are "I am a hard worker," "I am diligent. I never give up," and "I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge." We compared differences in Grit score across demographic characteristics (age, race, gender, disability, and highest degree achieved) as well as responses on the COVID-19 questions. SAS version 9.4 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA) was used for all data analyses. The p-values reported are all two-tailed tests; a p-value <0.05 was deemed significant. A Kruskal-Wallis test was used to determine whether there was a difference in Grit scores among demographic characteristics and responses to questions pertaining to COVID-19. Pearson correlation was used to determine whether there was an association between Grit score and continuous demographic characteristics, such as age.

Results

The cohort is 80% female, 33% Black, and 58% have a PhD. The median age of the cohort is 36 years (25th-75th percentile: 33-40). The median Grit score for all participants was 3.8 (25th-75th percentile: 3.5-4.3, which translates to "very gritty." Grit did not significantly differ across race, gender, presence of a disability, or type of highest degree achieved. Age however, had a positive association with Grit (r=0.16, p=0.02), in that older participants had more Grit.


Participants who reported a decreased workload due to the COVID-19 pandemic had a significantly lower median Grit score than those who did not report a decreased workload (3.6 [25th-75th percentile:3.1-3.9] versus 3.9 [25th-75th percentile:3.5-4.3], p=0.04). Individuals who reported difficulties concentrating due to the COVID-19 pandemic versus those who did not had a significantly lower median Grit score than individuals who did not report such difficulties (3.8 [25th-75th percentile:3.4-4.2] versus 4.0 [25th-75th percentile:3.6-4.4], p=0.01). Similarly, participants who reported increased overall stress due to the pandemic versus those who did not had a lower median Grit score (3.8 [25th-75th percentile:3.4-4.2] versus 4.0 [25th-75th percentile:3.7-4.3], p=0.02).

Conclusions and Discussion

Higher Grit was associated with less stress, less difficulty concentrating, and higher workloads during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results suggest Grit is a characteristic that may help UR post-doctoral fellows and faculty to cope better with difficult and stressful situations. It also suggests programs to increase Grit could be helpful to UR post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty. Grit was also found to increase with age, which is consistent with Dr. Duckworth's findings (Duckworth, 2016). Results from a large sample of American Adults show that a score of 3.6 is approximately 45th percentile, while 3.8 is 50th percentile and 4.0 is 65th percentile. The median Grit score of our cohort was 3.8, making it comparable to the larger sample referenced in Dr. Duckworth's book.

Acknowledgements

We thank the primary investigators and near-peer mentors at participating institutions for their recruitment efforts and continued support. The authors also express gratitude to the post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty participants who were willing to be randomized to one of the interventions. This study was funding by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences; Grant number: U01 GM132133.
Five-year assessment of summer academic enhancement program motivates URM students to pursue gateway programs and entry into health professional schools. Kramer, J. @!, Millonig, J.H.*!, Scott, T.I, Banerjee, D.#! Varia, S.*!, @Department of Pathology, *Department of Neuroscience, #Department of Pharmacology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, !School of Graduate Studies, Rutgers University
Smita Thakker-Varia, Rutgers University
Joe Kramer, Rutgers University
Jim Millonig, Rutgers University
Debabrata Banerjee, Rutgers University
Tracy Scott, Rutgers University
 
 
Abstract: Background: Minorities make up almost 28% of the US population with 13% being African American and 16.6% being Latino/Hispanic. This is projected to rise to 50% in two decades. Physicians from these backgrounds barely make up 10% of practicing medical doctors in the US. The same is true for scientists and educators. Several initiatives have been launched at national, state and regional levels but have yet to produce significant change. While academic institutions bring in students from these backgrounds, there is considerable leakage from the pipelines. A study from the University of California system highlights the problem (Alexander et al 2009). The authors of the study found that even though the under-represented minority (URM) students, on average, did not perform on par with white students, they were nearly as likely as white students to persist in completing at least four gateway courses. The authors concluded that URM students experienced academic challenges, but many persist in their prehealth courses despite these challenges if offered encouragement and opportunity. Therefore, interventions designed to support URM student performance in undergraduate and gateway courses are considered to be particularly important for increasing the diversity of health related professional and graduate schools (Estrada et al 2016 and McGee et al. 2012). Many medical schools have programs in place that prepare URM students for admission, however the number of qualified candidates remain far short of the desired goal. Finding meritorious URM students who can compete and qualify for admission to health related professions and graduate schools remains the biggest challenge.
Hypothesis: A summer immersion program for disadvantaged students (including URM students) will prepare them for a rigorous preparatory Masters program and matriculation into a health or science professional school.
Design: We have initiated a four-week intensive academic enhancement in the summer (ACES) program for students who were just below the cutoff for admission to our master's program in biomedical sciences with the understanding that students who achieve a B or above grade in four relevant gateway courses (Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Physiology and Microbiology) will be offered admission to the main master's program at the end of the ACES program.
Results: Over the past five years we have admitted 63 students into our summer ACES program. Of the 63 students, 38 are women; and 30 are URMs; the rest are Asian or Caucasian. A few of them are self-declared economically disadvantaged and some are first in family to go to college. Sixty of these students qualified for the main Masters program after completing ACES. We have followed their performance in the Masters program and find that these students are indistinguishable from students who had been admitted to the Masters program in the regular track. The ACES graduates are integrating well with their peers and they are in various different programs including medical schools.
Conclusions: Interventions at the gateway program level designed to attract and nurture disadvantaged students including URMs can be successful in increasing the number of qualified aspirants to health related professional schools and graduate schools. By opening up the opportunity to all disadvantaged students, we have been able to encourage URM students to pursue their goals. Our five-year data on a small number of students lead us to believe that programs such as ours will go a long way in recruiting qualified candidates to health- related professional schools and graduate schools and will be effective in increasing the number of URMs in these areas.
Creating Mutually Beneficial Communities of Care: A review of mentor and mentee positive academic behavior growth and effects on STEM persistence.
Louis Trzepacz, Student Experience
Freddy Colon, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Gerald Korenowski, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Jeannie Steigler, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Nam Caihua, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Peter Persans, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Charles Martin, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Maya Kiehl, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Gina Kucinski, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Elaine Zerbetto Traldi, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Steven Tysoe, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Alex Ma, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Amy Svirsky, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Janelle Fayette, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
 
 
Abstract: Introduction. Institutions control for various factors like SAT scores, High School academic performance, etc. when admitting students. Research is mixed on the effectiveness of these indicators to auger success in higher education settings (Baron & Norman, 1992), (Richardson, Abraham & Bond 2012). Largely these factors serve as proxies for academic and personal behaviors which directly affect student performance. The inability of some students to stay on top of their studies, do out of class assignments consistently, connect with other students around learning make it less likely they will continue (Lau, 2003). These tasks, we term positive academic behaviors: activities in which students engage that are positively correlated with academic performance. Namely students who take responsibly for their learning and engage in positive academic behaviors are more likely to persist and ultimately graduate (Richardson, Abraham & Bond 2012).

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, through a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, provides a peer-to-peer mentor program, IPERSIST, for approximately 1,100 first-year students enrolled in Calculus I, Physics I, and Chemistry I. The two-pronged mentor curriculum is designed with the outcomes of supporting students' subject area learning much like supplemental instruction, and also increasing the adoption of positive academic behaviors. Through weekly small group meetings mentors lead students through the curriculum and emphasize the use of these behaviors, incentivize their adoption, and check-in on results.

We discovered the program had similar effects on the mentors themselves. We meet with our mentors weekly and provide support for their own learning behaviors, through finals study sessions and direct access to faculty.

Methods. Rensselaer has collected generalized pre-data through its first-year survey disseminated to all students prior to enrollment. This tool asks students to describe their engagement in a set of academic behaviors during high school. We surveyed participants in our mentor programs at mid semester and at the end of the semester to determine which academic behaviors they were engaging in.

Additionally, we collected evidence from our mentors about their own behaviors and how mentoring may have affected them. However, the focus of this proposal is on the mentee experience.

Results. We found student mentees reporting increases in time management, preparation for exams, improvement in study skills, motivation and coping with academic stress. The greatest impact was in the area of completing course homework on a consistent basis, ability to stay on top of course work, and developing a positive relationship with other students in the mentor sessions. The mentor curriculum had a lesser effect on the adoption of study groups.

Conclusions and Discussion. Our baseline group was first-years students' reports of academic behaviors in high school and their perceived needs to be successful in college. These data are collected in our first-year survey where we find students indicating the highest perceived needs in improving their time management, and study skills and habits. The students who participated in IPERSIST indicated they believed those sets of behaviors were improved based on their participation in the program.

Chi Square and ANOVA analyses revealed differences in the reporting of students by gender, Race/Ethnicity and International Student Status, as well as High School preparation. Going forward we hope to do a comparison of students vis-à-vis pre-matriculation, through our program and compare to a control group who do not participate in IPERSIST to determine the effect size of these differences and how we can change our curriculum to ensure parity.

Acknowledgments. The IPERSIST program was developed and supported through a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Beginning in the fall of 2021, this program funding will end and Institute funds will support the program achieving our goal of "institutionalization" of IPERSIST. This initiative is made possible by collaboration with Academic Affairs, particularly the departments of Chemical and Biological Sciences; Mathematics; and Physics; The Advising and Learning Assistance Centers; the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment; as well as Student Life, including the First-Year Experience and Student Success. In addition, we are supported by Institutional Advancement.
Using Culturally Responsive Mentoring Self-Efficacy Beliefs to Assess Residual Mentoring Needs: An NIH-funded IMSD Intervention.
Tremaine Williams, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Mike Anders, PhD, UAMS
Latrina Prince, Ed.D., UAMS
Antino Allen, Ph.D., UAMS
Billy Thomas, M.D., UAMS
Robert McGehee, Ph.D., UAMS
 
 
Abstract: Introduction
Consistent references to achievement-related "leaks" in the pipeline of developing racially underrepresented minority (RUM) scientists substantiates the need for ensuring equity in doctoral programs that train RUM biomedical science students. Leaks appear to be most prevalent within the population of RUM doctoral students who pursue biomedical at primarily white institutions (PWIs) compared to the success rates of RUM doctoral students who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs); rousing questions of equitable education systems within PWIs. Historically, African American students who attend HBCUs have higher academic achievement than African American students who attended primarily white institutions (PWIs) (Allen, 1992). African American faculty represent the vast majority of faculty at HBCUs. African American student success at HBCUs is often attributed to more access to same-race faculty (Upton & Tanenbaum, 2014). Therefore, race and culture are of vital importance to examining the equity of RUM doctoral students at PWIs. Hence, this project' primary objective was to examine the influence of Non-minority faculty culturally responsive mentoring self-efficacy on the mentoring of biomedical science doctoral students from RUM groups.

Theoretical Framework. As racial underrepresentation in biomedical science persists, so does the need to prepare culturally responsive faculty mentors. Within the context of Albert Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory, faculty belief in the value of student culture may predict their ability to apply cultural responsive mentoring practices to developing their students (Bandura, 1977). Researchers have emphasized that the value of self-efficacy is heavily grounded in the notion that the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competence, alone, is not enough to attain a specific outcome (Bandura, 1977). Faculty must believe in and recognize the value of culturally responsive mentoring to effectively achieve the desired outcomes. Within this study, the theoretical underpinnings of self-efficacy were used to explain findings related to faculty beliefs their ability to mentor RUM students.

Methods
The primary objective of this study is to examine the influence of faculty culturally responsive mentoring self-efficacy beliefs on the achievement of biomedical science doctoral students from RUM groups. Within the University of Arkansas for Medical Science, we surveyed 52 biomedical science doctoral students and 30 of their mentors using a psychometrically validated, mentoring competency assessment (MCA) (Pfund et al., 2013). The MCA was composed of a 26-item skills inventory that supported the research mentors and mentees in evaluating their self-efficacy beliefs in six competencies of mentors (MCA variables): maintaining effective communication, aligning expectations, assessing understanding, addressing diversity, and fostering independence promoting professional development. Descriptive statistics and Spearman's Rho correlation were used to examine demographic and MCA variables.

Results
Twenty faculty mentors (20/30; 67%) and thirty-six mentees (36 /52, 69%) responded to the MCA survey. Given the ordinal nature data of the Likert-scale MCA survey, Box and Whisker plots to reflect the median responses of both mentors and mentees. We also found statistically significant Spearman's Rho correlations between all MCA variables, faculty mentoring experience, and formal faculty training related to mentoring students from RUM groups

Discussion
Mentors and mentees generally had similar self-efficacy beliefs of the mentor's competency. Generally, the mentors' self-efficacy was rate high. However, there was a need for improvement in two MCA variables: aligning expectations (learning how differences in backgrounds may impact expectations) and addressing diversity (improving understanding of individual differences and cultures, identifying concrete strategies for addressing issues of diversity). Additional interventions could be developed to address outstanding needs in these two areas. The Spearman's Rho correlations revealed 1) faculty mentors with higher self-efficacy in all MCA variables had greater post-graduation interaction with their students and 2) students whose faculty mentor were less culturally competent had less post-graduation interaction with their mentors. Additionally, the more formal biomedical science mentoring training and number of previous students a mentor had, the more skilled the mentor was at maintaining effective communication, aligning expectations, addressing diversity, fostering independence, and promoting the professional development of mentees.

Acknowledgements. This study was supported by the National Institute of Health's (NIH) Institute National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) through an R25 Project Number: 5R25GM083247-09.
Saturday, July 10th, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM: Concurrent Deeper Dives
Understanding the Biology Scholars Program's Impact on UC Berkeley
Cristian Cervantes Aldana, University of California, San Francisco
Mica Estrada, University of California, San Francisco
John Matsui, University of California, Berkeley
 
 
Abstract: Introduction

The Biology Scholars Program ("BSP") is an equity and inclusion program at UC Berkeley that aims to support the success of historically underrepresented undergraduates in STEM. BSP has documented student success for over 28 years and continues to cultivate student growth and inclusivity at UC Berkeley for PEER and first-generation science students (Estrada et al., 2019). While UC Berkeley is highly renowned for its prestigious and rigorous academic programs, there still exists institutional barriers that disproportionately negatively affect historically underrepresented students' persistence (Ballen & Mason, 2017). We therefore sought to understand the impact and influence of the Biology Scholars Program on UC Berkeley. In particular, we wanted to understand its influence on members of the campus community (i.e., faculty, staff, and administrators) and its effect on the larger institution.

Methods

Data were collected via a brief one-time online survey in fall of 2020, which was distributed to participants using Qualtrics, a survey website. Participants were selected based on past attendance to BSP workshops and conferences between 2015 through 2020. Of 172 participants, 38% were staff, 35% faculty, 14% graduate students, 4% administrators and 9% "others" (i.e. alumni, postdocs, program directors). Over half of the sample self-reported as white (57%), hispanic/latinx (12%), black/african american (9%), filipino (3%), asian (3%), chinese (3%), vietnamese (2%), asian indian (2%), japanese (2%), american indian (1%), korean (1%), and declined to state (5%). Respondents self-identified as female (54%), male (34%), transgender (1%), nonbinary (2%), declined to state (1%), and did not answer (8%). The majority of respondents were between 30 - 50 years old.

Results

The results from the one-time survey provides robust descriptive data to increase understanding of how BSP has impacted UC Berkeley. The first set of questions assessed participants' familiarity with BSP. The data show that over half of participants had experience interacting with members of the BSP community (e.g., BSP faculty and staff [68%] or BSP students [83%]). A subset of questions was dedicated to understanding participants' knowledge of BSP. In terms of correct responses, participants scored relatively high on 5 sections: selection of students (86%), treatment of students (73%), goals of BSP (85%), who participates in the program (65%) and criteria for student success (85%). These data show that participants understand how BSP functions or "works." With respect to BSP's influence on UC Berkeley members, the category most frequently selected by faculty, staff, and administrators was "mentoring" in relation to 1) influence in their own work (28%) and 2) student persistence in STEM (16%). Importantly, 81% of participants agreed that BSP has influenced the minds of UC Berkeley faculty, staff and administrations about growing student talent instead of selecting for it; a key principle of BSP.

The Biology Scholars Program was also reported to provide a model of how to create a safe and positive environment for UC Berkeley students. In fact, 97% of participants agreed that BSP's scholars created positive "ripple" effects into UC Berkeley and 90% agreed that BSP's Inclusive Excellence Communities of Practice also created positive "ripple" effects into UC Berkeley. A number of questions were also asked about BSP's influence. Seventy-seven percent of participants reported that BSP's presence on campus changed UC Berkeley. More to this point, the program was also reported to have positively influenced perceptions of equity (75%), inclusion (81%) and bias reduction (77%). Lastly, an open-ended question asked participants to describe BSP's greatest impact on UC Berkeley and the top two most frequent descriptions were modeling how to be supportive (19%) and creating a sense of belonging or community (17%) for students.

Conclusions and Discussion

The results of this study provide insight into the experiences and perceptions of faculty, staff and administrators with BSP and its impact on UC Berkeley. Overall, results showed that the Biology Scholars Program has had a positive effect on the members of the UC Berkeley community by modelling successful mentorship, and creation of contexts that provide support, inclusivity and equity for students who develop (rather than arrive with) the skills and preparation necessary to thrive in scientific disciplines. On a larger scale, BSP has had a "ripple" like effect on UC Berkeley, influencing not only individual members of the university, but other programs on campus, that seek to adapt the BSP model to other disciplines. How these "ripples" might extend to other universities is a topic of interest and future research.

Acknowledgments

The present research was supported by a grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute ("HHMI") (Internal ID: 25087). We thank Missy Soto and Brook Yu for their contributions to this research.
Using Long-term Follow-up Data to Understand and Refine Utility-Value Interventions in the Biomedical Sciences
Judith Harackiewicz, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Emily Rosenzweig, University of Georgia
 
 
Abstract: Interest plays a major role in STEM motivation. Our research is based in introductory biology classes for pre-health majors, where students start out with high levels of interest. The course is challenging, however, and we test interventions (based in expectancy-value theory [Eccles & Wigfield, 2002]) to help underrepresented students perform better. Both competence beliefs and values are critically important, but we intervene on value, and test competence beliefs as moderators. Different outcomes reflect different motivational processes, and we use different measures to study students' performance in gateway science classes and persistence in STEM. We know that these value-focused interventions can promote students' performance and engagement in the targeted biology classes (Harackiewicz et al., 2016). We have now begun to analyze long-term follow-up data from biology students in order to shed light on intervention processes and inform the design of future interventions (Harackiewicz & Priniski, 2018).

First, we conducted a two-year follow-up of a utility-value intervention (UVI) with 1039 students, examining subsequent course-taking and whether students had chosen biomedical majors. The original study (Harackiewicz et al., 2016) had found that the UVI improved course grades for all students, as well as for underrepresented students, by promoting engagement. In the follow-up (Hecht et al., 2019), students who were more confident that they could succeed in the course were more likely to persist in biomedical fields if they had received the UVI (a classic expectancy-value effect), and this effect was mediated by higher levels of personal relevance in students' writing assignments (a linguistic measure). We also found that the UVI increased persistence through the original effects on course grades, for all students, and for underrepresented students in particular. In other words, engagement was more relevant for performance (with clear implications for persistence in the biomedical pipeline), but a focus on personal relevance (for confident students) was most relevant for academic choices over time. These data help shed light on the different motivational processes that underly the efficacy of the UVI for different groups of students.

Second, we conducted two large-scale interview studies (Rosenzweig et al., 2021, Rosenzweig et al., in press), to examine students' long-term interests in biomedical fields throughout college and how that translated into different career trajectories. We identified 1193 students from the introductory biology courses who intended to pursue biomedical fields of study early in college, and then interviewed them at the time of college graduation about their future plans (a 2-3 year follow-up). If students had changed their career plans since beginning college, we examined their explanations for changing their plans, specifically looking at (1) whether students who left biomedical fields referenced competence beliefs or value and (2) whether they felt pushed out or became disenchanted with their original path, or attracted to another path (e.g., pulled away by interest in another field). As shown below (Figure 1), there were 196 students who left biomedical fields of study during college, 76 who remained in biomedical fields of study but did not intend to pursue biomedical career paths post-graduation, and 921 who remained in biomedical fields and planned to pursue biomedical career paths. However, among the 921 who remained in biomedical fields, 422 (46%) still changed their career plans. We therefore examined two kinds of change: leaving biomedical fields altogether (e.g., changing to pre-law), or changing within the pipeline (e.g., changing from pre-med to biology PhD). With respect to leaving the pipeline we found results consistent with previous research: underrepresented ethnic minority students (African American, Latinx, or Native American students in this sample) were more likely to leave the biomedical pipeline. A different pattern emerged for change within the pipeline: There were no differences as a function of race/ethnicity, but women were more likely to change plans than men.

We coded students interviews and found that among students who left biomedical fields of study altogether, 62.5% reported changing primarily due to disenchantment, referencing both low interest and low perceived competence in biomedical fields. However, 25.2% of students who left primarily changed plans because felt pulled towards alternative fields of study, with almost all of them referencing a growing interest in other fields. Among those who remained in biomedical fields but changed plans, 34.8% reported disenchantment with their original plan, whereas 49.5% reported attraction, with most students referencing changing plans due to value and interest. Results highlight the importance of value and interest in shaping students' educational decision-making, underscoring the critical role of value-focused interventions in introductory biology courses. They also point to an important future direction for such interventions, focusing on the relative value of one career path or field of study compared to one another, as opposed to focusing only on value for one particular field.

Although it is not always easy to collect long-term follow up data from interventions, this data provides critical insights that can inform both theoretical understandings of motivation and more specific understandings of when and how to intervene to support students' motivation in pursuing biomedical careers. The follow-up of the utility value intervention explores the different processes by which reflecting on value can shape diverse students' learning outcomes and persistence in the field; the long-term interview data explores how students reflect on their own motivation in a way that can drive future intervention design.
Creating Successful Mentorship Relationships: Findings from an Evaluation of The National Hispanic Medical Association's College Health Scholars Program
Alexandra Kamler, The New York Academy of Medicine
Elena Rios, National Hispanic Medical Association
Vincent Gearity, National Hispanic Medical Association
Linda Weiss, The New York Academy of Medicine
 
 
Abstract: Keywords: Mentoring, Latinx, undergraduate students, Workforce, health careers, diversity

Abstract

Introduction. Achieving a diverse healthcare workforce is critical for addressing health disparities in the United States (Wilbur et al., 2020). To that end, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities supported a pipeline of training programs for students from under-represented populations who are interested in public health and medicine (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office of the Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and Office of Minority Health, 2015). In 2017, the Office of Minority Health provided funding to the National Hispanic Medical Association to develop and conduct a randomized controlled trial of the NHMA College Health Scholar's Program (CHSP), a mentoring program aimed at increasing the diversity of health professionals by preparing Hispanic pre-health college students for graduate study. Intervention group (IG) students are paired with mentors in health professional schools to discuss academic preparation, finances, and personal/professional development. They also have access to a private online student group for peer support and webinars.

Currently, there is a gap in the literature detailing the specific characteristics on which to match mentors and mentees for a successful mentoring relationship, with many mentorships assuming pairing mentees with more senior professionals is inherently better. Here we present qualitative findings from the CHSP evaluation focusing on the characteristics to consider when pairing CHSP mentors with mentees that were perceived as important for facilitating a successful relationship.

Methods. The findings presented here are from Years 2 and 3 of the CHSP and include data from: one focus group with 7 IG students, five interviews with mentors from Year 2, and nineteen interviews with students in both the IG and control group (CG) in Year 3. The Year 2 focus group and interviews included questions on students' onboarding experience, program perceptions, impact, and recommendations. In addition to these topics, the Year 3 interviews included questions on the challenges students face in college. Each focus group and interview was audio-taped, and the recordings were sent to a professional transcription company. All instruments were approved by The New York Academy of Medicine's Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to use.

Results. Above all else, students reported that the ability to relate to their mentor is the most important factor impacting the success of the mentorship relationship. Ability to relate was tied to: 1) being close in age; 2) sharing a similar background; and 3) a similar academic trajectory. Being close in age was viewed as more useful than having a more seasoned health professional as a mentor, as younger mentors could speak to the challenges of the current educational systems and application processes and refer mentees to specific resources. In general, students perceived younger mentors as more knowledgeable of current systems and resources for pre-health college students compared to those who are older.

Well, I can relate to what he said about - my mentors, none of them have really been very relatable to me... And then, reading the profiles of my next three mentors, none of them really seemed like I would actually get along with - because all three of them were much, much older adults. The one that I'm connected with right now, I think she's a middle-aged woman from New Jersey. And I'm like, "I'm in Texas. I'm only a sophomore in college." I know that she's a nurse, but can she really help me - or will she even have those resources? I mean, his mentor is about the same age as him, so he still has those resources that he can give him. But I feel like mine wouldn't even have that.

Being able to relate to one's mentor was also facilitated by having a shared background, including culture and ethnicity. Other characteristics that contributed to strong mentor/mentee relationships included being part of the first generation in their family to attend college and speaking Spanish as the primary language at home. Students reported that having a shared background is particularly impactful when building a relationship and connecting with their mentor.

We both come from a Hispanic background, and he was first-generation college student, too. So, that's an easier way because he kind of told me his experience - it's a very similar experience when it comes to family life. I think one thing I [asked]... is, "How do you study at home with such chaos sometimes? How do you deal with certain family members being like, 'Why aren't you doing this and why aren't you doing that or why are you studying so much?'" So, he kind of gave me his guidance...Sometimes I'm having a whole mental breakdown and he's like, "I understand what you're going through. You just have to breathe and take some time for yourself."

Also, Spanish was my first language and then I learned English. That's the same thing with my mentor...Growing up in school, you're being taught in English, but you're thinking Spanish, so it made it a little bit more difficult understanding certain things. He's gone through the same thing, so he's given me advice on how to navigate through that.

And I feel like having a mentor for the medical career, especially with being a first generation, male, person of color it's been remarkable the amount of impact it has.

Like I mentioned before, I think that students of color, Latinx, we have a lot of self-doubt, because we think we're not capable of achieving the same things as our counterparts. So, I do think that having a mentor there and motivating you and you witnessing that someone else is able to accomplish the things and goals for yourself. I think that is something very valuable, because we're reminded that we are capable of achieving our goals.

Lastly, sharing a similar academic trajectory was important. Students who were planning to take time off or who had taken time off between years in school prior to graduating reported unique challenges that a mentor with a similar experience could both speak to and help address. Having a mentor who attended a school with the same type of academic term (e.g., quarter, semester) was also reported as useful to those students who wanted guidance on when they should begin studying for finals within their academic term.

If you go the traditional route, you kind of don't have an understanding of what nontraditional lifestyle is like. The feedback that I've been getting from her was really supportive, really receptive, but it doesn't display a level of like growth or understanding of where to go from there.


My school works according to the quarter system. Her school was semesters. It's really totally different. So, sometimes regarding school problems, I gotta talk to other mentors at my school to find out what I should do and why I should not...for right now, I don't contact her frequently just because I feel like she tries hard to help me, but then it's just because of that situation [regarding the lack of familiarity about my academic term] that she can't give me a lot of helpful advice regarding my school.

Conclusions and Discussion. Mentorship programs are relatively common and have shown value, but there is insufficient information regarding program attributes that supports success. The NHMA College Health Scholars program has taken on a significant challenge in that the goal is post-college education in competitive and difficult fields and many of the students engaged experience many barriers to success, including absence of professional role models, and economic constraints. Findings suggest that younger Hispanic mentors in health professions training may be particularly effective for this group. In addition, thoughtfully pairing mentors and pre-health college students from underrepresented groups based on shared background and academic trajectory can result in supportive and successful mentoring relationships. Developing a pipeline through mentoring is a critical step in increasing the diversity of the healthcare workforce. Incorporating the findings from this evaluation is one approach to bolster successful mentorships and work towards achieving that goal.

Acknowledgements. We would like to thank the funder of the NHMA CHSP, the Office of Minority Health, as well as the College Health Scholars Program students who participated in this evaluation.
How Recent PhD Graduates Navigated the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Balance of Challenges and Opportunities
Robin Remich, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Remi F. Jones, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Anne E. Caliendo, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Richard McGee, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
 
 
Abstract: The COVID pandemic has had devastating personal and career impacts on millions of people in all walks of life, including established scientists [1,2]. However, much less is known about how recent biomedical PhD graduates are navigating the pandemic. We have been interviewing a group of PhDs students for over 10 years, uniquely positioning us to investigate how recent PhD graduates are navigating the pandemic. Recruited a decade ago, participants were less subject to potential selection bias that can occur in new studies. The study duration also allowed for rapport to grow between participants and interviewers. Our data reveal how young scientists responded to pandemic-related challenges. But they often seized new opportunities and reflected carefully on their roles in science, future careers, and life choices.

Our findings, drawn from annual interviews with 58 individuals, fit into two sections. First, we report on themes: work and productivity; mentors and networks; job transitions; and life outside work. Our data illustrate a range of experiences and highlight sources of opportunity and challenge. We explore questions such as: Given the disruption and restructuring of lab time, what led many to conclude as a new postdoc did, "it was a surprisingly productive time"? How did mentoring and networking change when face-to-face interactions went virtual? For whom did career decisions become highly influenced by personal circumstances, such as a postdoc whose work-at-home time led to reconsidering his career and family roles?

Second, we focus on academic careers for insights into how aspiring and new faculty navigated the pandemic, including: how trainees managed increasing uncertainty and job searches; and how new faculty navigated campus shutdowns. Some decided to shift away from academia; while for most, short-term doubts about academia were tempered with long-term optimism, as one postdoc said, "it can only get better."

Overall, we found that young scientists were able to utilize their skills and resources during a time that disrupted work and personal lives. Many shared responses similar to one graduate, "[The pandemic] is part of everyone's life . . . [I] feel fortunate that it's allowed me to move forward." We found increased space for reflection on work, life, and values was a major factor that facilitated participants to "move forward" amidst challenges. We argue that PhD and postdoctoral trainees could benefit from more built-in time and space for reflection.
You've had your first diversity and inclusion meeting - Now what? : A model for sustaining meaningful conversations on diversity and inclusion within STEM training environments
Christine Wood, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Robin Remich, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Remi Jones, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Richard McGee, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
 
 
Abstract: Scientists are more aware than ever of the problem of building and sustaining diverse research environments. In this presentation, we report on an intervention designed to foster ongoing dialogue about diversity and in biomedical research science. The data come from the intervention arm of a randomized-controlled trial of a coaching intervention consisting of small groups of trainees and faculty coaches. The data reveal how this model was effective in sustaining meaningful dialogue on diversity and building capacity for inclusion practices in biomedical research science.

The events of 2020, including the growing visibility of Black Lives Matter, catalyzed a movement for racial justice unlike any since the Civil Rights Movement. Across academia, students, faculty, and leaders are engaging with issues of racial equity. Interventions targeting these questions have developed in recent years. For example, the Culturally Aware Mentoring program (CAM) is a workshop-based approach for teaching faculty and trainees to engage in diversity dialogues. Studies of CAM have demonstrated its immediate impacts on faculty and administrators (1,2). However, it is unlikely that a single-event intervention is sufficient to initiate the ongoing work required to foster sustainable changes to eradicate barriers to equity in academic science.

Beginning in 2011, our research team began an experiment involving faculty-led coaching groups, with the long-term goal of increasing diversity in biomedical faculty (3,4). The Academy for Future Science Faculty paired groups of 10 PhD students with trained faculty coaches from outside of the students' home institutions. Annual in-person meetings occurred over a period of 2-3 years and coaching groups continued to meet virtually for 3 years. Coaching groups were balanced by gender and race/ethnicity to foster conversation across identity groups. The intervention employed an intensive introduction to: 1) social science theories that underpin inequality within social systems; and 2) the history and ongoing realities of how racism and privilege result in differential treatment. The frameworks introduced to students allowed them to engage in meaningful discussions of diversity. The study team continues to follow participants through annual in-depth interviews; these interviews have revealed how the Academy affected their perceptions of diversity, discrimination, and building and sustaining diverse research environments.

This presentation draws on interviews with Academy participants conducted at least 4 years after the end of the coaching group virtual meetings. The interviews captured participants' lasting memories of and reactions to group-based exposure and dialogue related to diversity and inclusion. The data reveal how participants continue to apply the social theories introduced in the intervention, such as microaggressions, imposter syndrome, and cultural capital, to make sense of and navigate science. Similarly, participants continue to recall the group discussions on the meaning and importance of diversity and inclusion. Some participants reported drawing on their experiences in the Academy to engage in or lead diversity efforts in their current positions. Others have reflected on perspective changes and the importance of sustaining diverse research environments. These impacts occurred among participants from across gender and racial/ethnic groups, and were notable among well-represented students. Among the many examples of transformative perspective changes are new strategies for navigating and responding to racism, increased engagement in proactive diversity and inclusion efforts, and the ability to observe and name instances of marginalization.

The Deeper Dive will explore designs and approaches groups could adopt, and offer guidance on how to facilitate them. Such efforts could be effective in reshaping the norms and expectations for cross-cultural understanding essential for effective mentoring.
12:35 PM - 1:20 PM: Initiatives to BUILD Psychological Well-Being
Examining the Impact of the BUilding Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative on Academic and Researcher Self-Efficacy among First Year Students
Krystle Cobian, UCLA
Shujin Zhong, UCLA
Lourdes Guerrero, UCLA
 
 
Abstract: Introduction
Stemming from Albert Bandura's work on self-efficacy (1977) and later work on social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1991), self-efficacy was developed to explain how people think, motivate themselves, and ultimately how they behave — including how long they will persist in the face of obstacles or challenging situations (Bandura & Adams, 1977). Research on self-efficacy has examined relationships between students' beliefs about their abilities and their resulting academic achievement (Chemers, Hu, & Garcia, 2001; Honicke & Broadbent, 2016) as well as their career options (Byars & Hackett, 1998; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2000)

When considering the impact of self-efficacy for students with scientific career aspirations, especially for underrepresented and disadvantaged groups in the biomedical sciences, the literature suggests that self-efficacy is both an outcome of efforts to support students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) (Carpi et al., 2017) as well as a driver of future behaviors, such as increasing aspirations for a STEM career (Amelink et al., 2015). Also important to note is that self-efficacy can differ by social identities such as gender, race, and socioeconomic status (MacPhee, Farro, & Canetto, 2013).




Self-efficacy must be domain-specific, meaning that an individual's perception of self-efficacy will vary across specific spheres of activities. For example, academic self-efficacy is one's conviction in being able to successfully perform a given academic-related task at a designated level (Schunk, 1991). For this study, we examine science self-efficacy as a researcher in order to understand what pre-college characteristics and freshmen experiences might impact self-efficacy in the domain of science skills. A student who experiences high academic self-efficacy in an introductory STEM course, for example, may have a low self-efficacy perception of their skills in a research lab, which requires different competencies compared to learning scientific theories and concepts in a classroom setting. Thus, while academic self-efficacy and science identity have been studied with respect to STEM outcomes, little is known about how one develops self-efficacy regarding science and research skills.

The BUILD programs are designed to explore the most effective ways to engage students from underrepresented backgrounds in biomedical research, helping them progress on the pathway to become potential future contributors to the NIH-funded research enterprise. Given the research on scientific self-efficacy and its connection to degree completion and career interests, we explore how involvement in the BUILD program relates to changes in students' academic self-efficacy after they participated in the BUILD scholar program during their first year in college.

Research Question
Does participation in the BUILD scholar program during freshman year impact students' scientific self-efficacy?

Methods
Sample
Data are derived from the Higher Education Research Institute's Freshman Survey (TFS) and the DPC Student Annual Follow-Up Survey (SAFS). The sample consists of students at 4 BUILD institutions that had first-year BUILD programming and thus enrolled students into BUILD prior to, or at the beginning of their first academic year of college. Incoming freshmen completed the TFS before the fall of their first year and the SAFS during the spring of their first year. We assume that students' action of taking both surveys is random, and the missingness in the datasets is also due to randomness.

Matching
The sample consists of three cohorts (2016-2018) of first-year BUILD students, each of whom was matched with 2 of their non-BUILD peers, due to the fact that there were a lot more students in the control group (108 students in the treated group vs. around 20,000 students in the control group). We firstly extracted students who were BUILD scholars and


had records of taking both TFS and SAFS. We identified 108 students from the 4 BUILD primary sites, and employed a two-step matching procedure using exact matching to ensure that we include students from the targeted institutions and cohorts, and using propensity score matching for baseline covariates: gender (SEX), race/ethnicity (RACEGROUP), pell-grant status (Pell), first generation status (firstg), high school GPA (HSGPA), and years of mathematics courses taken during high school (YRSTDY2). The summary of balance of the pre-propensity score matching data is reported in Table 1.



For the propensity score matching, we identified 2 control units per 1 treated unit through nearest neighbor matching without replacement, estimated with logistic regression. After matching, we obtained a relatively balanced sample in the treated and the control groups (see Table 1 vs. Table 2, and Figure 2). The improvement of balance can be reflected from the reduced standardized mean differences and the reduced differences in the empirical cumulative density function between the treated and control groups.







Regression Analysis
We used the matched sample to perform regression analyses to see if, after controlling for covariates, the BUILD scholar program would be significantly influential in predicting science self-efficacy. We designed a time series model and defined students' science self-efficacy at time point t as our dependent variable.

The dependent variable is scientific self-efficacy as a researcher, conceptualized as the science self-efficacy construct on both the TFS and SAFS. Science self-efficacy is a measure of students' confidence in their ability to conduct scientific research. The original construct developed by the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) consists of 10 items that asked participants about their perceptions to engage in various scientific skills. For this longitudinal study, the number of items in the construct was reduced to six items. The set of questions in the surveys asked students how confident they felt with the following science skills: using technical science skills, generating a research question, determining how to collect appropriate data, explaining the results of a study, using scientific literature to guide research, and integrating results from multiple studies.

The variable is quantified using students' expected-a-posterior (EAP) item response scores of six items in the surveys, and can be treated as a continuous variable. The scores are centered and scaled at N(50, 10). The intervention indicator is whether or not a student was in the BUILD scholar program between the time they took the TFS and SAFS. Based

on related literature, covariates we plan to include in this study are gender, race/ethnicity, pell-grant status, first-gen status, high school GPA, years of match training in high school, students' lab experience, conference participation, and faculty mentoring. Since there were multiple survey items related to faculty mentoring, we selected the following five items and computed EAP scares for each observation in the whole dataset: faculty showed concern about students' progress, faculty empower student to learn here, faculty believe in student's potential to succeed academically, faculty encouraged student to meet with them outside of class, and at least one faculty member has taken interest in student's development.


Results

We designed a time series model and defined students' scientific self-efficacy at time point t as our dependent variable. The basic model is similar to a pair-wised t-test, controlling for the grouping differences. Table 3 shows the results of the time series basic model. As time went by, students' scientific self-efficacy would decrease, the BUILD scholars' science self-efficacy tended to keep growing. The intra-class correlation (ICC) of the within person (case) random effect is 0.432, which indicates the necessity of including the random effect, or the variance contributed by individual differences (one's post-survey result only comparing with their own pre-survey measures).



Building on the basic model, we added students' background-related covariates: reported major (variable Major, coded as 0-non-biomedical related majors, 1-biomedical social science majors, and 2-biomedical natural science majors), high school GPA, gender, race/ethnicity, pell-grant eligibility, first generation college student status, and years of math training in high school. The results are reported in Table 4. The results show

consistent effects of time and the BUILD scholar intervention. In addition, we observe that majors, especially students who are in the biomedical natural science majors (Major2 in Table 4), compared to non-biomedical majors tend to have higher science self-efficacy. Those who had higher GPAs in high school (HSGPA) also tended to have higher scientific self-efficacy. On the other hand, women (variable SEX), students who self-identified as Latina/x/o (RACEGROUP4), and who were first generation college students (firstg) appear to be less likely to have a high scientific self-efficacy at the end of their first year in college. The variance of the random effect reduced in this model, but the ICC remained around 40%, which was still large enough to be kept in the model.



We then added students' college conference experience (DCONF), lab research experience (DGRNOP) and the faculty mentoring construct (Mentoring) as covariates into the model.

The results were similar to the previous model, and in addition, showed that the faculty mentoring was positively correlated with the scientific self-efficacy. With this model, we performed sensitivity analysis, and our preliminary results indicate that even under the condition that there exists any strong confounders, the intervention effect still holds to be strong and positive (Figure 3).








Conclusions and Discussion

Overall, preliminary findings suggest that the participation in the BUILD scholar intervention during students' first semester in college has a positive impact on science self-efficacy. In addition to the observed intervention effect, we also noticed that students' science self-efficacy tends to reduce as they progress in college. Some pre-college characteristics matter, as we found that students with higher high school GPAs are more likely to have higher science self-efficacy at the end of their first year of college. Women students, students who identified as Latino/a, and first generation college students tend to be less likely to have high scientific self-efficacy.

With respect to college aspirations and first-year experiences, students who are biomedical natural science majors, and students who receive more positive faculty mentoring tend to have higher scientific self-efficacy. These findings suggested that the BUILD scholar program is likely to be effective, especially to students in biomedical science majors, in enhancing one's beliefs in their ability to engage in various scientific behaviors. Additionally, findings suggest that underrepresented groups, such as women, Latina/x/o students, and first generation college students, may still need additional support to foster their science self-efficacy.

Since this study examined a cohort of BUILD students and non-BUILD students with matching baseline characteristics to determine the impacts of science self-efficacy during the first year of college, future research can focus on understanding how science self-efficacy changes over a longer period of time. The analytical models are designed to fit future time series analyses to track long-term effects of the BUILD programs. Future research can also examine the role of faculty, graduate students, and peer mentors in

fostering science self-efficacy for undergraduate proteges.

Acknowledgments
Work reported in this publication was supported by the National Institutes of Health Common Fund and Office of Scientific Workforce Diversity (USA) by U54GM119024 and U54GM119024-03-S1 administered by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).
The Building Up Intervention and Proposed Trial
Maya Thakar, University of Pittsburgh
Gretchen White, University of Pittsburgh
Natalia Morone, Boston University and Boston Medical Center
Andrew Althouse, University of Pittsburgh
Audrey Murrell, University of Pittsburgh
Jamie Doyle, National Institute of Health
Doris Rubio, University of Pittsburgh
 
 
Abstract: Introduction

The lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the biomedical research workforce and the disproportionate rate at which underrepresented (UR) biomedical researchers and faculty leave research positions are well-documented issues (McGee, Saran, & Krulwich, 2012; Milewicz, Lorenz, Dermody, Brass, et al., 2015; Gibbs & Griffin, 2013; Valantine, Lund, & Gammie, 2016). To address this issue, the Building Up a Diverse Workforce for Biomedical Research (Building Up, for short) trial aims to test the effectiveness of a career development intervention among 224 post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty who are UR in health-related sciences. This project focuses on the role Grit plays in persevering through the COVID-19 pandemic as a researcher from an UR background.

Grit is a combination of passion and perseverance, where passion refers to 'consistency over time'. (Duckworth, 2016) This is illustrated by Dr. Duckworth, who states that Grit is what predicts who will succeed at West Point, where 1 in 5 drop out before graduation. It is interesting to note that Grit was a better predictor of success than admission score (used to rank each applicant). Grit has also predicted who is more successful in sales, at a spelling bee, or in pursuit of higher education. (Duckworth, 2016) Given these findings, we wanted to determine if there was a difference in Grit across demographic characteristics of participants in Building Up. We hypothesized that Grit would be a predictor of response during a pandemic.

Methods

Participants completed the baseline assessment in September-October 2020 via REDCap prior to the start of the intervention. The assessment included questions on demographic characteristics, Grit, and impact of COVID-19 on their work and personal life. The response option for the impact of COVID-19 question was "check all that apply" and included items such as "decreased workload", "difficulties concentrating", "increased financial stress", "increased overall stress", "increased free time", and "more quality time with friends and family". Duckworth created and validated a 10 item Grit measure with responses ranging from 1-5. The responses are summed and averaged for a total Grit score. Example items are "I am a hard worker," "I am diligent. I never give up," and "I have overcome setbacks to conquer an important challenge." We compared differences in Grit score across demographic characteristics (age, race, gender, disability, and highest degree achieved) as well as responses on the COVID-19 questions. SAS version 9.4 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA) was used for all data analyses. The p-values reported are all two-tailed tests; a p-value <0.05 was deemed significant. A Kruskal-Wallis test was used to determine whether there was a difference in Grit scores among demographic characteristics and responses to questions pertaining to COVID-19. Pearson correlation was used to determine whether there was an association between Grit score and continuous demographic characteristics, such as age.

Results

The cohort is 80% female, 33% Black, and 58% have a PhD. The median age of the cohort is 36 years (25th-75th percentile: 33-40). The median Grit score for all participants was 3.8 (25th-75th percentile: 3.5-4.3, which translates to "very gritty." Grit did not significantly differ across race, gender, presence of a disability, or type of highest degree achieved. Age however, had a positive association with Grit (r=0.16, p=0.02), in that older participants had more Grit.


Participants who reported a decreased workload due to the COVID-19 pandemic had a significantly lower median Grit score than those who did not report a decreased workload (3.6 [25th-75th percentile:3.1-3.9] versus 3.9 [25th-75th percentile:3.5-4.3], p=0.04). Individuals who reported difficulties concentrating due to the COVID-19 pandemic versus those who did not had a significantly lower median Grit score than individuals who did not report such difficulties (3.8 [25th-75th percentile:3.4-4.2] versus 4.0 [25th-75th percentile:3.6-4.4], p=0.01). Similarly, participants who reported increased overall stress due to the pandemic versus those who did not had a lower median Grit score (3.8 [25th-75th percentile:3.4-4.2] versus 4.0 [25th-75th percentile:3.7-4.3], p=0.02).

Conclusions and Discussion

Higher Grit was associated with less stress, less difficulty concentrating, and higher workloads during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results suggest Grit is a characteristic that may help UR post-doctoral fellows and faculty to cope better with difficult and stressful situations. It also suggests programs to increase Grit could be helpful to UR post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty. Grit was also found to increase with age, which is consistent with Dr. Duckworth's findings (Duckworth, 2016). Results from a large sample of American Adults show that a score of 3.6 is approximately 45th percentile, while 3.8 is 50th percentile and 4.0 is 65th percentile. The median Grit score of our cohort was 3.8, making it comparable to the larger sample referenced in Dr. Duckworth's book.

Acknowledgements

We thank the primary investigators and near-peer mentors at participating institutions for their recruitment efforts and continued support. The authors also express gratitude to the post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty participants who were willing to be randomized to one of the interventions. This study was funding by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences; Grant number: U01 GM132133.
12:35 PM - 1:20 PM: Undergraduate Persistance Programs
The Role of International Research Experiences in the Development of Minority Undergraduate Scientists
Raeshan Davis, Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy, Louisiana State University
 
 
Abstract: Introduction
There continues to be a disparity in the participation of underrepresented minorities collectively (National Science Foundation, 2019). Specifically, White and Asian Americans have representation within the science and engineering (S&E) workforce at rates higher than their African Americans, Latino/a Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Pacific Islanders peers. Given the continued underrepresentation of these groups in the STEM workforce, i.e., 33% of the population versus 13% of the STEM workforce, policymakers and educational leaders have focused on diverse approaches to address the cultivation of talent across all of our nation's populace. 


Undergraduate research and international experiences are claimed to be high-impact educational practices beneficial for undergraduate student success and support the development of science identity and intercultural competencies (Brownell & Swaner, 2010; Carey, 2012; Daniels et al., 2016; Haegar & Fresquez, 2016; Kuh, 2008; NASEM, 2016). Statistics show that there is low participation of some racial minorities in these experiences. For students from groups historically underrepresented in STEM, undergraduate research opportunities can particularly prove beneficial in developing their identity, confidence, and sense of belonging in STEM despite the lack of representation (Bangera & Brownell, 2014; Carlone & Johnson, 2007; O'Donnell et al., 2015). Consequently, several studies have shown how URMs are impacted by engaged learning through undergraduate research and similar experiential learning with significantly positive effects (Crawford et al., 2018; Daniels et al., 2016; Davidson et al., 2018; Fakayode et al., 2016; Fakayode et al., 2018; Haegar & Fresquez, 2016; Wilson et al., 2016; Wilson-Kennedy et al., 2019).


Our study focuses on the benefits of international research opportunities for underrepresented racial minorities within STEM disciplines. Namely, international research experiences offer a hands-on learning opportunity to develop one's self-efficacy, identity, and competencies as a researcher while exposing them to potential career pathways and graduate studies not previously considered. International research experiences also offer the added benefit of developing students' intercultural competence and understanding of global research. This study was guided by three research questions:
i. How are international research experiences contributing to the educational experience of minority STEM undergraduates? 
ii. How do participants describe their growth in intercultural competence after living and working at an international research site?  
iii. How does minority students' participation in undergraduate international research programs support their actualization of being a scientist? 


This study is framed by the theoretical frameworks of Science Identity (Carlone & Johnson, 2007), Social Cognitive Career Theory (Byars-Winston et al.,2016; Lent et al., 1994), and the Intercultural Competence Model (Deardoff, 200), this present study explores the benefits of participating in an international research experience for minority undergraduate scientists (Figure 1).

Figure 1. A Conceptual Model Integrating Social Cognitive Career Theory, Science Identity, and Intercultural Competencies and Awareness to promote the development of undergraduates at Global Scientists



Methods
Using a qualitative case study methodology, we examined the evolution of students' science identity, research competencies, and intercultural competence after engaging in a three-month international research opportunity in France and Belgium. The general population of interest for the study was science majors who participated in the France-Belgium iREU program during their undergraduate academic careers. The study's participants included eight (8) students; five (5) women and three (3) men. The primary mode of data collection was one-on-one semi-structured interviews that lasted approximately one hour. The interview protocol included questions about the selection of their undergraduate degree path, current career and education path, iREU program experience, perspective on global research, and a reflection of their growth in research abilities and intercultural competence. The research team also analyzed the iREU program's grant, iREU year-end reports, promotional materials, and the LSAMP-NSF website to gain a better understanding of the organization's mission and context.


For the data analysis, each transcript was read thoroughly to gain an understanding of each participant in the study (Yin, 2017). Next, each transcript was open-coded to develop a preliminary codebook. To further develop the codebook, the transcripts underwent several rounds of axial coding. Using axial coding, connections were made between the open codes to identify major codes (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Throughout the analysis, multiple sources of data were actively examined to develop an in-depth understanding of each case individually in relation to the research questions (Yin, 2014; 2017). Once the codebook was finalized, the codes were grouped into categories, and emergent themes were recorded. Throughout the data analysis process, researchers employed member checking and peer-debriefing throughout the coding process to make sure the data was trustworthy.


Results
After analyzing the interview data and documents, four salient themes emerged across the eight minority undergraduate scientists interviewed.
Theme 1: Increased confidence in their science identity and abilities
Participants shared how their international research experience helped them validate their sense of belonging and actualize their future in STEM. Specifically, participants experienced a significant increase in their research confidence and self-efficacy. Further, their confidence was solidified by the positive feedback from their mentors in France and the U.S.


Theme 2: Gained and strengthened skills necessary to be a successful researcher
Participants discussed the substantial improvement in their research, technical and professional skills. Specific improvements included learning to work with large scale reactions, communicating research findings to various audiences and being able to develop and teach lab protocols to others.
Theme 3: Recognized the influence of international exposure on their growth personally and professionally
For many of the participants, this international research experience broadened their understanding and awareness of research collaborator relationships across countries. Participants remarked how imperative it is to have international research collaboration in the advancement of STEM to solve world issues.


Theme 4: Expressed how monumental this research opportunity is for all minority students to experience
After reflecting on this international research experience, all of the participants resoundingly expressed how this opportunity affirmed the trajectory of their lives as scientists. Given the significance of this iREU on their overall development as scientists, all of the participants exclaimed how monumental this opportunity would be for all minority students to experience.


Conclusions and Discussion
Aligned with our conceptual framework, our findings corroborate the substantial contribution of iREUs to our participant's research self-efficacy and science identity development. Therefore, we concur that international research experiences can contribute substantially to the research self-efficacy, confidence, and competencies development of undergraduate students. With a general understanding of research in the United States, participants were exposed to science and research conducted through the lens of another culture. As a result, they recognized the value and importance of international research collaboration with researchers worldwide for the advancement of their respective STEM fields. For many of the participants, this international research experience was their first time viewing themselves as contributing members of their STEM field on a global scale. Certainly, their prior research experiences were impactful on their development as scientists, but several of the participants indicated that the independence gained in the lab through their IRE gave them a different level of confidence in their abilities. In sum, our findings illuminate the interplay of each sphere of development supported the participants' foundation of their global scientist development.


Acknowledgements
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation Awards (#1560390), (#1263336), (#1826824), and (#1826738).
STEM Summer Scholars Institute: Enhancing Academic Motivation and STEM Career Aspirations
Bianca Evans, Indiana University
 
 
Abstract: Recruiting, retaining, and graduating underrepresented students in STEM require targeted, comprehensive approaches, and welcoming, inclusive environments. With underrepresented students having a higher probability of leaving postsecondary education, summer research experiences increase understanding of how to conduct research, confidence in research skills, and awareness of what graduate school may be like (Seymour, Hunter, Laursen, & Deantoni, 2004; Lopatto, 2004; Bauer & Bennett, 2003). Although student gains and outcomes of summer research experiences have been well-discussed in the literature, systematic and empirical research to clarify the motivational factors, perceived drivers, and barriers of the processes of the research programs is limited (Adedokun, Bessenbacher, Parker, Kirkham, & Burgess, 2013; Cooper et al., 2019; Gardner, Forrester, Jeffrey, Ferzli, & Shea, 2015; Linnenbrink-Garcia et al., 2018).
The STEM Summer Scholars Institute (SSI) is part of an initiative to provide underrepresented students with an intensive eight-week STEM laboratory research experience and to enhance interest in attending graduate school. Program components include GRE preparation, career exploration, poster presentation skills, mentor-mentee relationship building, and other professional development activities. Utilizing a mixed-method approach, the purpose of this study is to understand how the STEM Summer Scholars Institute (STEM SSI) engages the educational experience of summer research, attracts and retains talented students to careers in science, and acts as a pathway for minority students into graduate programs. Participants from 14 institutions participated in an online survey on the benefits of the STEM SSI research experience.
The results include triangulation of quantitative and qualitative results to address the research question and draw conclusions relevant to undergraduate degree completion, graduate school program matriculation, and overall perceptions on the perceived impact of the STEM SSI in reaching those milestones. Since its inception in 2007, the STEM SSI has hosted 269 participants, with over 63% of them visiting from Minority Serving Institutions. 104 responded to the survey with a response rate of 55 %. The quantitative analysis of these scholars shows that 86% of the 104 respondents either completed or enrolled in a masters or PhD program in the sciences after obtaining an undergraduate degree from 2007-2017. A group of 11 students who discontinued their plans for postgraduate science education reported working in a STEM career. Four students work outside of a STEM-related area.
The qualitative component uses narrative analysis to examine student stories. Data analysis focused on identifying patterns and variations in responses. The findings are reported through the discussion of themes. The Expectancy-Value Theory framework was used to further analyze the findings of this study. The findings presented focus specifically on key aspects that students identified as being particularly valuable to them and which helped them to succeed academically and in their career. Three themes emerged from the data analysis. The themes include (1) Research Experiences Engage STEM Application, (2) Mentor-Mentee Relationships Guide STEM Confidence, and (3) Demystifying the Graduate School Process. The students described the importance of academic and social components at the institution and the sense of community built.
Based on the accomplishments reported by each of the respondents, the follow-up study indicates academic, professional, and personal success has resulted from participation in the STEM SSI program. Participants in the STEM SSI demonstrated improvements in numerous metrics including graduate school attendance and subsequent completion of PhDs in STEM fields or professional degrees. The findings of this study suggest that programs like STEM SSI and student support interventions should emphasize students' science identity development throughout their research experience, which may increase motivation to continue engaging in research. More research is necessary to explore the identity formation, values, and beliefs of STEM SSI participants and the role of summer research experiences on the science identity of students. Administrators and directors should carefully assess outcomes to ensure that their institutions provide the needed support that will enhance STEM motivation and retention
1:25 PM - 2:10 PM: Impact of Mentored Learning Experiences
Two years of mentorship in Culturally Adaptive Pathways to Success
Matthew Jackson, Cal State, LA
EunYoung Kang, Cal State, LA
 
 
Abstract: Introduction.
With support from NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM), the Culturally Adaptive Pathway to Success (CAPS) program aims to build an inclusive pathway to accelerate graduation for academically talented, low-income students in Engineering and Computer Science majors at Cal State LA. The campus context primarily serves underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students in the Los Angeles area. The student body demographics are such that 63% are underrepresented minority (URM) students; 60% are first-generation college students; and 70% of the students are Pell grant eligible and need to work for more than 20 hours per week to support themselves. Within the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology, the average graduation rates (since 2007) are: 4 years: 4.1%, 5 years: 23.1%, and 6 years: 40.1%. The CAPS program seeks to improve on these levels of student achievement by scaffolding student development with multiple supports.
The CAPS program aims to develop social and career competence in our students via three integrated interventions: (1) Mentor+, an advising strategy that trains mentors to engage with students in relation to their academic work, and the connections between work and community. For example, in 2020 the CAPS program developed an online growth mindset training for faculty mentors. This online course established definitions, used active learning techniques to have mentors assess their own mindsets, provided evidence that students perform better when exposed to growth mindsets and that such exposure has been shown to help reduce achievement gaps for underrepresented students , and finally provided examples and practice opportunities in communicating growth mindsets to students. (2) Second CAPS established peer cohorts, providing a structure for social support among students and training models of peer mentorship (3) Finally, CAPS structures professional development from faculty who have been trained to support students with a holistic understanding of the antecedents of college success. To ensure success of these interventions, the CAPS program places great emphasis on developing culturally responsive advisement methods and training faculty mentors to facilitate creating a culture of culturally adaptive advising.

Methods.
The CAPS program recruited 2 consecutive cohorts of scholars. In total, there are 24 scholars (19 underrepresented minority, 8 women) across civil engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. The success of the CAPS program will ultimately be determined by the improved graduation rates of the involved scholars, with measures of professional identity and GPA serving as intermediate guideposts. To assess these metrics, both qualitative and quantitative data collections occurred. Online surveys were administered to both cohorts of CAPS scholars, assessing the impact of the CAPS program, engineering/computer science identity, and career plans. A second group of students who are not CAPS scholars - and matched on the academic qualifications that made students eligible for the CAPS scholarship, but not financial need - were recruited for the purpose of comparison in regards to the engineering/computer science identity and career plans.



Results.
CAPS students are progressing faster than non-CAPS students academically. 85% of scholars were retained at through Summer 2020 (2 became academically ineligible, and 2 transferred to different universities). Further, 100% of retained scholars are expected to achieve 5 year graduation. 30% of the first cohort are expected to achieve 4 year graduation. 50% of the second cohort are expected to achieve 4 year graduation. This is compared to average graduation rates of 4% achieving 4 year graduation and 23% achieving 5 year graduation.

Table 1. GPA CAPS NON CAPS
GPA Spring 2019 3.31 3.45
Spring 2020 3.47 3.39
Professional Identity
e.g., "I have come to think of myself as an 'engineer' Spring 2019 3.90 3.87
Spring 2020 4.10 3.83

Conclusions and Discussion.
The trends in both GPA and Professional Identity provide evidence of the benefits of the CAPS program. After the first year, CAPS scholars had lower GPA's than a group of comparably students who had completed the academic prerequisites of the program, but less overall financial need. But by the second year of the program, CAPS scholars' GPA exceeded that of their matched counterparts. In addition, CAPS scholars' professional identity has consistently been marginally higher compared to their peers. The qualitative data obtained from the faculty mentor and student mentee focus groups reveal several sustained successes in communicating the initial expectations for the program, and for establishing initial contact between mentors and new mentees. Scholars report a high level of satisfaction with the program and report financial, social (i.e. peer group formation), and academic benefits. Faculty also report satisfaction with their participation, including greater facility in holistic mentorship. Mentors cited benefits including an improved understanding of cultural differences and a greater ease in having conversations about how a student's academic life intersects with their family and community engagement. The results of the study suggest that others looking to support low income underrepresented students could benefit from pairing financial support with mentors trained to consider the experiences of economically and racially diverse student populations, as well as providing infrastructure for the development of peer mentorship groups.

Acknowledgments.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1742614.
Mentored Learning Communities to Enhance Diversity in STEM and Medicine
Carla Romney, Boston University School of Medicine
Andrew Grosovsky, University of Massachusetts, Boston
 
 
Abstract: STEM, medicine, and other STEM-intensive health professions are disciplinary areas (referred to here as STEM+) that lack diversity, undoubtedly reflecting many underlying issues in these disciplines as well as in society. Perhaps most important are disparities in access to high quality pre-college STEM education, since they lead to deep and persistent societal inequities. These disparities are especially evident in the STEM+ disciplines and are exacerbated by the strongly hierarchical organization of knowledge and practice in these fields. A strong foundation in pre-collegiate education provides a significant advantage, enabling strong performance in undergraduate programs, which in turn facilitates successful application into highly competitive graduate and professional STEM+ programs. There are many shortfalls in every stage of this pathway that impact the success of minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

The consequences of the lack of diversity in the STEM+ fields are wide-ranging and significant. Students who are educated in low-resource, underperforming K-12 environments often cannot access STEM curricula that are based on best pedagogical practices and face extraordinary challenges during the early years of their undergraduate education trying to catch up to their peers who had stronger pre-college STEM educational experiences. Students who come from under-resourced backgrounds often have few opportunities to glimpse the transformative advantages of a STEM+ career, leading to the perpetuation of significant societal inequities. The lack of diversity also directly impacts the STEM+ disciplines in several negative ways. The STEM+ practitioner community in the workforce is affected by an insufficient variety of lived experiences and is unable to draw upon the wealth and breadth of knowledge possessed by people who identify as having different cultural, racial, linguistic, religious, gender and sexual identity, and socioeconomic backgrounds. As a result, the perspectives brought to bear on problems may be too narrow in scope. There is ample evidence that suggests that scientific productivity is negatively impacted when a research team lacks diversity, as measured by publication data (Freeman & Huang, 2015). In addition, outreach to disadvantaged communities and efforts to provide assistance to them may not be optimally designed, or even appropriately prioritized (Page, 2008).

Here, we focus on the mechanisms that assist STEM+ students to overcome socioeconomic and educational disadvantages. We emphasize the importance of mentoring in diverse and inclusive learning communities since our underlying rationale is that diverse populations of successful undergraduates are essential for creating professional diversity in the future STEM+ workforce.

Due to the hierarchical nature of the STEM curriculum, it is crucial that entering undergraduate students who evince interest in a STEM+ career immediately establish foundations that support their success in subsequent curricular offerings and promote extracurricular opportunities for personal and professional development. Disadvantaged students are at high risk at this crucial point in their educational pathway, since they are entering an environmental that is often unfamiliar and may even be intimidating. Recognition of these needs has led to the establishment of learning communities, a term with a variety of meanings and practical implementations. We use the term learning communities to refer to diverse, small subgroups of an entering class of STEM+ students that are deliberately designed to support the personal, educational, and social needs of these students. In our experience, STEM+ learning communities provide important advantages for new freshmen.

This is a partial abstract. The full abstract is formatted in the attachment.
1:25 PM - 2:10 PM: How to Transform Courses in Biology and Chemistry to Include High Impact Practices: Proof of Concept
How to Transform Courses in Biology and Chemistry to Include High Impact Practices: Proof of Concept
George Langford
Laurel Willingham-McLain
Vera McIlvain
Jonathan French
Weiwei Zhang
Martha Diede
 
 
Abstract: The Syracuse University CHANcE (Collaborative High Impact Activities in Natural sCience Education) Project is a five-year program designed to provide professional development for faculty in biology and chemistry who integrate active learning and inclusive pedagogies into their courses. Participation in the Project is open to both tenure-earning and teaching faculty. The Project is in its third year, and most of the faculty in the two departments participate in semi-annual two-day professional development workshops. In addition to the workshops, 4 faculty are selected each year to receive Course Transformation Grants of $5000 to support the additional effort required for course transformation. To receive a grant, a faculty member must submit a course transformation proposal, and if accepted, undergo a design phase, implement the transformations in the course, and submit a final report highlighting student learning and faculty reflections.
Multiple forms of professional support is provided to grantees to help them develop specific learning goals, introduce active-learning and inclusive practices for accomplishing these goals, and assess learning outcomes. Professional assistance includes practical articles (e.g., Dolan and Collins, 2015; Tanner, 2013), regular meetings with a CHANcE Project Education Specialist, postdoctoral fellow, graduate research assistants, peer mentors, administrative personnel, communities of practice, book studies, and workshops.

To date, 12 courses have been transformed, including general chemistry, introductory biology, ecology and evolution, cell biology, anatomy and physiology, organic chemistry laboratory, inorganic laboratory, and integrative biology laboratory (Table 1). Additionally, the upper-division courses "perspective in biochemistry," "the science of GMOs," and "personalized medicine" are being transformed. High impact practices introduced thus far include writing-to-learn, case studies, messy problems, high-level clicker questions, interactive video lectures, transparent assignments, peer learning assistants, and assignments to highlight the contributions of BIPOC scientists. These transformed courses reach over 1000 students annually, and thereby increase our capacity for inclusion.

The faculty response to the CHANcE Project has been exceptional. We find, however, that inclusion is hard to grasp and implement because of the normativity of dominant culture. The practice of inclusion touches on values, emotions, and long-held beliefs about who scientists are and who belongs. Overcoming assumptions about group affiliations is a difficult, nonlinear process not accounted for in faculty load. For students who have been historically excluded because of ethnicity or race, the challenge of having to develop a sense of belonging without sacrificing cultural identity or adopting the oppressive views of the dominant group is daunting. We address these challenges in faculty thinking and practice through the semi-annual professional development workshops.

In this symposium, three faculty will present their course transformation processes, student learning observations, and their own development as faculty. The courses are general chemistry lecture (Che 106), anatomy and physiology Bio 216), and inorganic chemistry lab (Che 422). The first two are very large, required courses with students from various majors. The third is a small, recently designed upper division course for chemistry majors.
2:10 PM - 3:40 PM: Closing Welcome
Welcome and Introduction of Plenary
Anthony DePass
 
 
2:10 PM - 3:40 PM: Closing Plenary
The Health and Wellness of Biomedical Scientists
Sharon Milgram