Libraries works with RISE@Drexel to Educate Future STEM Leaders

Libraries works with RISE@Drexel to Educate Future STEM Leaders
Jenny James Lee
September 9, 2014

RISE StudentsIn June 2014, six minority students from the Community College of Philadelphia arrived at Drexel to conduct full-time research in the Engineering lab of their choice through the RISE@Drexel program. Each RISE scholar was paired with a PhD mentor to guide and serve as role models, in addition to an overall graduate (Arpit Shah, PhD Candidate),undergraduate TA (Daniel Christe), and Drexel P.I. (Dr. Antonios Kontsos, Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics). Antonios Kontsos, principal investigator, says the RISE@Drexel program adopts a research-based approach based on the hypothesis that learning about science and engineering is most effective if paired with the challenge of independent research in a collaborative micro-environment, such as in actual research laboratories.

Simply put, with the proper guidance and mentoring, anyone can do STEM research. An integral part of any research endeavor is the literature review, where Drexel University Libraries fulfilled a key role. Engineering Liaison Librarian Jay Bhatt, introduced the group to powerful search tools and databases, including Engineering Village and Knovel within the first week of the program and made himself available to the students for consultation on the use of references throughout. The program culminated in a colloquium in which each student presented on his/her work, immediately followed by a poster reception. Four of the six RISE Scholars continued to work in their labs beyond the formal duration of the program – and one was awarded a prestigious NSF-REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) at Temple University.

Said one RISE scholar, “The program has given me the opportunity to learn and grow as an engineer, and I plan to use the tools that I have been given to continue to build on the foundations that have been laid.”

Promoting STEM participation resonates at the highest levels of Government – President Obama has consistently advocated for diversity in the nation’s STEM talent pool, inspiring underrepresented ethnic or gender groups to pursue advanced science and engineering degrees. RISE@Drexel [Raising Interest in STEM Education] was funded in the framework of the Department of Education’s Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program - the Community College of Philadelphia [CCP] in partnership with Drexel University was awarded a three-year grant to foster diversity in the nation’s STEM talent pool.