In the course of his tenure, Wilhelm Friess, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the College of Maine, has seen a sample of proficient very first-technology, minimal-earnings engineering learners leaving the program — or dropping out of university entirely. Generally, their leaving the software has considerably less to do with their probable expertise as engineers than the socioeconomic odds that were being stacked towards them ahead of they even arrived.

Friess aims to improve that by furnishing these college students with the aid they require. He was awarded $749,999 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a project identified as Constructing Bridges for Engineering Students (BBEST) that supports talented, small-profits engineering learners. 

“This method provides a unique opportunity to guidance these proficient college students from some of Maine’s poorest counties. The goal is not only to supply students with the assist needed to keep in university, but also to raise high school students’ consciousness that they should think about university. We want to develop bridges between UMaine and the K–12 method that will transfer a faculty education and learning in just attain for students who may perhaps if not not contemplate it,” Friess claims.

BBEST recruits and supports students from 4 of Maine’s poorest rural counties — Aroostook, Washington, Oxford and Piscataquis — that have both of those significant poverty fees and very low college student enrollment charges in the College or university of Engineering. The system will award scholarships to 23 college students about the study course of the program’s 6 several years while also providing institutional assist in the sort of cohort creating, school and team mentoring, profession aid and other universitywide products and services. For case in point, students in the plan will be assigned a Scholar Success Coordinator to be their key issue of call, attend month to month workshops to join with other college students in the method and receive support preparing resumes, skilled shows and interview abilities for work fairs.

“There is a wealth of exploration that demonstrates that even though economic assist is basic for learners to have access to higher education, developing an inclusive and supportive environment is important for college student persistence and results whilst in college. BBEST aims to tackle both equally points by awarding scholarships and developing the corresponding aid community for reduced-cash flow learners with significant academic potential,” Friess suggests.

The method is modeled in section on the results of applications like the E. James and Eileen Ferland Engineering Excellence Scholarship Fund, which was launched in slide 2012 to recruit learners from Skowhegan High Faculty in Somerset County, a single of the poorest in Maine. Given that its initiation, pupil enrollment from Somerset County has increased 250%. Around 50% of the 36 students graduated in 4 a long time as engineers and are now utilized in the field.

The task will be evaluated by means of conclusion-of-calendar year surveys, emphasis team interviews and a remaining analysis report at the close of the six-12 months system. Every year collected info will aid in method improvement, gauge challenge accomplishment and disseminate lessons acquired.

The award starts Feb. 15, 2023. Friess hopes that his program will result in additional prosperous graduates of the University of Engineering signing up for the workforce in Maine. 

“This plan will entice and aid talented engineering students to enter, persist, and graduate from UMaine. This will instantly aid the UMS TRANSFORMS goals to bolster Maine’s workforce and economic system by growing the selection of graduating engineers from UMaine,” Friess suggests. 

Get in touch with: Sam Schipani, [email protected]