Paper No. 189-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
TWO-TIERED MENTORING OF TWO YEAR COLLEGE STUDENTS DURING A SUMMER RESEARCH EXPERIENCE PROGRAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO
UTEP-ROCCS (University of Texas at El Paso-Research Opportunities for Community College Students) is an NSF supported summer research experience for undergraduates (REU) designed exclusively for two-year college students from across the United States that has been conducted the past 3 summers (2017-2019). Unlike many other summer REU’s, the participants are only in El Paso during the month of June to begin their research projects, with subsequent research carried out at their home institutions in July through intensive virtual mentoring. The mentoring team for the program is a unique mix of two-year and four-year college faculty and undergraduate juniors and seniors. Over the 3 year period we have hosted 22 two-year college participants supported by 6 UTEP undergraduate mentors, 2 undergraduate mentors who had been participants in previous years’ cohorts and 9 faculty mentors from UTEP and El Paso Community College. Surveys conducted during the first two years of the program showed that 96% of the time the participants felt the faculty and student mentors were supportive, encouraging, and able to respond to their questions and concerns. Ninety two percent felt they received constructive, useful critiques of their field and research work, were motivated by the mentors to learn more and were challenged to extend their abilities and skills for the success of their research projects. Over 94% of the time they felt the experience stimulated their interest in geology as a future career. Twelve respondents (an 86% response rate) to a follow-up survey of the 2017 and 2018 cohorts indicated 11 were now attending a four-year institution to complete a BS degree in the geosciences and one was obtaining additional training within a GIS certificate program.