S-Power: Student Pathways Opening World Energy Resources


S-POWER Overview

ABSTRACT (NSF #1564653)


S-POWER is an undergraduate scholarship opportunity for URM transfer students interested in completing an engineering degree at Northeastern University (NU) with aspirations of working in the energy sector. This NSF-funded S-POWER program is centered around providing students prior to as well as during their time at NU with research, mentoring, career development, and education preparation with a focus on the solving the grand energy challenges.

The proposed program addresses two national crises: (i) the extremely low persistence rate of underrepresented minority (URM) transfer students to bachelor degree granting institutions in STEM fields, and (ii) the need for fundamental research and training in energy related fields. Through the awarding of scholarship support to low-income, academically talented students, and by designing, implementing, assessing, and disseminating essential new approaches to transfer student education, S-POWER will unite students and faculty at both sending and receiving institutions to collaboratively address Grand Energy challenges, such as developing materials for energy efficient systems and energy power management.

To implement the above vision, the investigators will create project-specific teams of faculty and students to build social and mentoring ties and enable focused educational support structures, including formal mentoring with industry and implementation of shared educational pedagogies at both the sending and receiving institutions. This departs from most traditional transfer student educational processes in which it is only the sender or receiving institution’s responsibility to educate the student attending each institution. In addition, S-POWER will study and document additional barriers for URM transfer students, while investigating the similarities and differences of experiences for students that begin their academic journey in four-year versus community colleges. The success of the S-POWER educational pedagogy will be assessed throughout each student’s educational career, and factors that positively influence transfer student success will be disseminated to the broader educational community.