A Ten Year Assessment of the Pre-Engineering Program for Under-Represented, Low Income and/or First Generation College Students at The University of Akron

  • Paul C. Lam
  • Tirumalai Srivatsan
  • Dennis Doverspike
  • John Vesalo
  • P Ruby Mawasha


This paper summarizes the findings of a ten year study on a Pre-Engineering program aimed at dramatically improving both the recruitment and retention of under-represented students pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at The University of Akron. The primary goal of this study was to evaluate The University of Akron?s operation of the special High School Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math Science, Educational Talent Search and Pre-Engineering Academic Achievement Programs with the primary objective of increasing the number of under-represented students in STEM. The programs are offered in collaboration with the College of Engineering Minority Engineering program, Increasing Diversity in Engineering Academics (IDEAs). The net effectiveness of the programs was measured using the following parameters: (a) average high school grade point average both before and after participating in Pre-Engineering programs, (b) high school math and science achievements, (c) retention rate for students returning from previous year, (d) students enrolling in colleges and (e) percentage of students committed to STEM upon graduation. The most noteworthy result stemming from the use of these strategies is that the targeted students, who have expressed an enthusiastic interest in pursuing mathematics and science, are highly motivated, ambitious and excited about exploring STEM.