A longitudinal study of student persistence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at a regional urban university

Connie Kubo Della-Piana, Ann Darnell, Julia Bader, Lilly Romo, Nohemi Rubio, Benjamin Flores, Helmut Knaust, Thomas Brady, Andrew Swift

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

    2 Scopus citations


    In 1995 the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded six minority-serving institutions in an effort to develop models for undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education that would increase the persistence, graduation, and success of all undergraduate STEM students; improve the quality of undergraduate STEM programs; and increase the diversity in STEM professions and graduate programs. The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), one of the six funded institutions, is located in the southwest corner of Texas bordering Juarez, Mexico and New Mexico. It primarily serves the predominantly Hispanic population of the region. Developed for all entering students in the College of Science and College of Engineering, the Circles of Learning for Entering Students (CircLES) program is a comprehensive institutional effort starting with a weeklong STEM summer orientation. CircLES also provides students with discipline-specific student advising and requires students to participate in one to two semesters of science or engineering-oriented learning communities, based on their pre-college preparation in Mathematics and English. This paper describes the design and findings of a five-year longitudinal study of student persistence in STEM since implementation of the program. Findings from the study indicate that students who participate in the program have higher retention rates in STEM, as well as at the University, and increased persistence toward graduation when compared to 1997 baseline rates. Similar results are observed when findings are disaggregated by gender, ethnicity, and level of entering mathematics course.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)13615-13632
    Number of pages18
    JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
    StatePublished - 2003
    Event2003 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Staying in Tune with Engineering Education - Nashville, TN, United States
    Duration: Jun 22 2003Jun 25 2003


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