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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v9.i1.70
16 pages

AN ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE MCNAIR PROGRAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON

Paul C. Lam
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Diversity and Co-op Education Programs, College of Engineering, The University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-3901
Okechukwu Ugweje
College of Engineering, The University of Akron
P. Ruby Mawasha
College of Engineering and Computer Science, Wright State University; and Diversity in Engineering and Science, College of Engineering, The University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-3901
Tirumalai S. Srivatsan
College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio 44325

ABSTRACT

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program is one of the six federal TRIO programs funded and periodically reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education. The program is an opportunity for educational outreach designed to inspire, motivate, and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The McNair program at The University of Akron is designed to educate, prepare, and qualify underrepresented students and those from first-generation, low-income families to take an important step toward pursuing graduate degrees in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology. This article investigates several selection variables, including students' research activities, support services of the program director's office, the role and enthusiasm of faculty mentors, and research- and workshop-related activities, as predictors of success in the program during its first 2 years at Akron. Preliminary data, including comments of the 2000 and 2001 McNair students and mentors, were used in the analysis. The results indicate that the overall experience of the McNair scholars was encouraging and satisfactory and provide knowledge on areas for improvement.