Dr. Graham Doig has been awarded a 2-year, $188,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate the reasons why some students choose to participate in co-curricular engineering projects (such as Formula SAE, PROVE Lab, Concrete Canoe, Robotics Club and many more), while some students decide not to participate at all or leave projects after trying them. While the benefits to students of engaged involvement are relatively well documented, participation and experience varies a lot across students from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. The study is aimed at obtaining a more scientific understanding of this so that student teams and campus coordinators can offer more effective programs that better encourage improved diversity and inclusivity.
The research will eventually expand to other college campuses in California to better understand how Cal Poly’s student body and “Learn by Doing” approach compares. The project, which will support several student researchers (including new hires Linda Moore and Andres Hernandez), is a collaboration with Dr. Chance Hoellwarth (Center for Engineering, Science and Mathematics Education) and Dr. Kathy Chen (Materials Engineering), with CSU STEM VISTA AmeriCorps volunteers Nicki Holm and Monica Singer.