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UTEP Education Researchers Awarded $456k NSF Grant

The College of Education at The University of Texas at El Paso has been awarded a $456,076 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on persistence in and beyond undergraduate engineering studies among Latinx students.

Latinx is the gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina used by academics and activists.

Alberto Esquinca, Ph.D., associate professor of bilingual education, will lead the project with co-principal investigators Elsa Q. Villa, Ph.D., director of the Center for Education Research and Policy Studies; and Erika Mein, Ph.D., co-chair of the Department of Teacher Education.

They will examine the undergraduate education experiences of engineering students at UTEP to determine their trajectory through engineering studies and how they made their decision to enter the workforce or attend graduate school after completing their baccalaureate degree.

“This is a study of persistence in which we are to hone in on the transition between college and the workforce and/or graduate studies,” said Esquinca, the grant’s principal investigator. “This is innovative because prior studies of persistence limit the scope of their investigations to graduation, which is insufficient given that a large percentage of engineering students do not enter the engineering workforce.”

Researchers will study the persistence of mechanical engineering and computer science undergraduate students who are in their senior capstone course.

They plan to identify factors that contribute to these students’ successful trajectories beyond graduation as they seek professional positions in the workplace, and/or make decisions to continue on to graduate school during their last year of undergraduate studies.

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