Discipline: Science and Mathematics Education
T'Shana Carter - Tennessee State University
Co-Author(s): Shabnam Etemadi Brady, Lydia Davis, and Germysha Little, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
In the past decade, the proportion of undergraduate students from underrepresented groups pursuing degrees in STEM fields has only increased by 3%, with several groups experiencing no growth at all. To address the significant need in our country for supporting students in their journey to completing a degree in STEM fields, efforts to develop effective mentoring practices should be undertaken. Researchers from the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence (CAFÉ) performed a descriptive research investigation aimed at identifying best practices and lessons learned strategies that can be employed within STEM mentoring programs to broaden participation while ensuring student success. Methods As this research project is focused on describing the current best practices of individuals participating in nationally recognized mentoring programs, institutional policies, procedures and practices were explored through survey instruments, focus group discussions, document content review analysis, historical records, and other sources of information. Sixty-eight graduate student participants (N=68) were surveyed to reflect on their mentor and mentee experiences during their undergraduate careers in STEM. Participants represented various institutions nationally and diverse STEM field majors. Results Majority of participants reported having a mentor. Thirty-two percent of participants reported having two mentors, while 17% stated that they had up to four mentors. Additionally, 17% of participants reported having five or more mentors. Participants reported their experiences in the mentor selection process. Twenty-nine student participants reported selecting mentor(s) with matching STEM major(s) and career goals. Only two student participants stated that they selected their mentors for funding opportunities. Although, a number of the participants had two or more mentors, twenty-two participants reported that their mentors failed to be available in order to provide them with adequate mentor-mentee time. Several participants stated that they gained a great deal from their mentor, such as professional advice and training, goal-setting skills, and research activity opportunities. These findings demonstrate that mentor accountability, skill development, and time management can play critical roles in mentor-mentee rapport building and overall student development. The present research study aims to improve and implement supportive mentoring practices from such findings to lead to student success in STEM fields.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): PAESMEM; LSAMP
Faculty Advisor: Lesia Crumpton Young, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: Helped with data input and analysis.