NSF Grant Expands Engineering Technology Opportunities for Talented, Financially Disadvantaged Students

The Michigan Tech School of Technology (SOT) received nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation to address the need for a highly trained engineering technology STEM workforce with baccalaureate degrees. The five-year $999,483 Engineering Technology Scholars IMProving Retention and Student Success (ETS-IMPRESS) project provides financial support and an ecosystem of high-impact curricular and co-curricular activities to increase student success. It supports 12 first-time undergraduate engineering technology students with four-year scholarships and 36 students transferring from community colleges in Michigan and neighboring states with two-year scholarships. The project focuses on expanding the number and diversity of academically talented and financially disadvantaged individuals entering and completing engineering technology degrees at Michigan Tech. The project brings together engineering technology programs offered through SOT with programs available through Tech’s Pavlis Honors College.

The project evaluates the effectiveness of using an inclusive honors college curriculum and support structure on student motivation, performance, retention, intentions to persist, and professional skill development of academically talented but financially needy underserved and underrepresented students. It will also evaluate the influence of a transfer pathway to engineering technology versus a traditional engineering curriculum on performance, retention, and time to graduation.

“This grant will allow the School of Technology to provide a unique opportunity to engage academically talented engineering technology students in activities designed to foster leadership, technical know-how, and employability skills for technology fields that actively recruit and employ graduates from diverse backgrounds and communities, with a goal to increase student retention and graduation,” says Nasser Alaraje, professor and program chair of the electrical engineering technology program at Michigan Tech, and principal investigator for the project.

The project team members are: Lorelle Meadows, Pavlis Honors College; Laura Fiss, Pavlis Honors College; Kellie Raffaelli, Center for Diversity and Inclusion; Mohsen Azizi, School of Technology; Guy Hembroff, School of Technology; John Irwin, School of Technology; Aleksandr Sergeyev, School of Technology; and Susan Amato-Henderson, Cognitive and Learning Sciences.