The goal of the eSTEM Strategies project is to establish an e-mentoring program for underrepresented high school students living in rural North Carolina that will engage them in engineering-related experiences supported by near-peer relationships with mentors of similar background, race, gender and experiences, in an effort to improve students’ attitudes about and participation in STEM. To accomplish the overarching goal of this project, we will employ a research-based mentoring model facilitated through the use of mobile and web-based software technology.
This three-year project will iteratively design, implement and study the e-mentoring program by matching 50 underrepresented rural students with college engineering and technology majors from the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) and Technology and Engineering Education Collegiate Association (TEECA) at NC State University. Both high school students and student mentors participating in the program will benefit from a connection to the broader STEM community that will allow them to envision pathways to STEM careers.
This project will report on factors that facilitate successful implementation of the e-mentoring experience, examine the potential promise of the e-mentoring experience for our participating students and determine factors that may moderate the potential of the e-mentoring program. By matching underrepresented students with near-peer mentors of similar background, experience and interests, it is expected that mentees will improve in their self-efficacy and value for STEM and their STEM intentions, enrollment and persistence, particularly with respect to engineering.