1 Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology (MUST) Evaluation Prepared under contract to Hispanic College Fund Authors Jay Feldman Nicole Ifill Alexandria Walton Radford Beverly Farr MPR Associates, Inc Shattuck Avenue, Suite 800 Berkeley, CA November 2012
3 iii Content Executive Summary... 1 MUST GOAL MUST GOAL MUST GOAL MUST GOAL Methods... 5 Survey Design and Administration... 5 Chapter 1: Developing STEM Expertise among Underrepresented Groups... 7 Serving Underrepresented Students... 7 Developing STEM Expertise Field of Study Academic Performance Persistence in MUST Project STEM Career Aspirations Current Plans Summary Recommendations Chapter 2: Providing Support Services to Foster STEM Persistence Mentor Perspectives on Mentoring Mentor Characteristics Mentoring Interactions Mentor Supports Mentor Benefits Favorite Aspects of MUST Least Favorite Aspects of MUST Mentor Suggestions for Improving MUST Student Perspectives on Mentoring Student Perspectives on MUST staff support Summary Recommendations Chapter 3: Providing Research and Professional Development Experiences Participation in NASA Research during the Academic Year Research Presentations at Conferences during the Academic Year MUST Travel Award... 37
4 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) iv Professional Development Participation in STEM Outreach Activities Studying Abroad MUST Newsletters Summary Recommendations Chapter 4: In Their Own Words Scholars Perspectives on MUST Summary Recommendations Chapter 5: Conclusions... 50
5 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 1 Executive Summary The Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology (MUST) Project, managed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), supports the academic and professional development of undergraduates through scholarships, mentorships, and internships from backgrounds not typically represented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career fields. The Hispanic College Fund (HCF) administers MUST on behalf of NASA. Collectively, NASA and HCF outlined four broad goals for the MUST Project: 1. Develop science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) expertise leading to eventual degrees among groups that are currently underrepresented in the workforce, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and individuals from rural and low-income communities; 2. Provide support services such as mentoring to ensure that students successfully complete their coursework and encourage degree completion; 3. Provide hands-on research experiences that broaden interests in the aerospace industry; and 4. Prepare students for careers in STEM by engaging them in holistic professional development experiences. MPR Associates, Inc. (MPR) was contracted to analyze the results of data gathered on the effects of the MUST Project and to synthesize the results of those analyses. This report provides a summary of data analyses related to the first stated goal in Chapter 1, the second goal in Chapter 2, and the third and fourth goals in Chapter 3. Student My plans are to obtain a Bachelor s in Mechanical reflections on MUST are provided in Engineering. [Regarding my] participation in the Chapter 4, and conclusions are MUST funded internship my project has inspired presented in Chapter 5. me to also take some classes in aerospace engineering, because ultimately I think this would help me in my career in an aerospace related industry. I would also like to go to grad school, and MUST has informed me of fellowships, which I am preparing to apply for. Sophomore MUST Scholar
6 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 2 MUST GOAL 1 Develop science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) expertise leading to eventual degrees among groups that are currently underrepresented in the workforce, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and individuals from rural and low-income communities. INDICATORS MUST continued to serve a very diverse group of students in , although less so than in Sixty-nine percent of MUST Scholars were racial or ethnic minorities while only 8 percent were first-generation college students. Seventy-one universities across 27 states and Puerto Rico were represented. Fifty-three percent of scholars were majoring in engineering, 32 percent in science or math, and 13 percent in a space-related major (aerospace, aeronautics, astronautics, or astronomy). Every MUST Scholar enrolled in at least one STEM class in both semesters. Just under half of participants felt that participating in MUST had positively influenced their course selections. Fifty-seven percent of scholars reported wanting to work in engineering, 45 percent in aerospace, 31 percent in computers, and 26 percent in another science field or mathematics. MUST GOAL 2 Provide support services such as mentoring to ensure that students successfully complete their coursework and encourage degree completion. INDICATORS About one-third of mentors worked with their mentees for more than two hours per month. The most commonly discussed topics between mentors and scholars were graduate school, STEM-related research and professional opportunities, and career issues. Seventy-nine percent of mentors rated the quality of their interaction with mentees as satisfying.
7 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 3 Slightly more than two-thirds of mentors were satisfied with the frequency of their interactions with their mentees. Mentors, particularly faculty mentors, rated their scholars ability highly. Seventy-one percent of mentors thought that their scholars efforts met their expectations. Some mentors wanted more communication about expectations and support from NASA MUST. Most of the MUST Mentors found the mentorship experience to be valuable and wished to continue working with their mentees. In particular, mentors appreciated the opportunity to contribute to the development of young, promising scholars, offering advice and first-hand experience. Both MUST Mentors and Scholars expressed a great desire to meet face-to face throughout the year, as part of the one-on-one mentorship experience, and scholars also wanted to meet more often with other MUST Scholars. Scholars were most likely to interact with their faculty and graduate mentors. Mentor relationships helped scholars expand career options and set higher expectations. Scholars discussed financial aid with MUST staff more than with their mentors. MUST Scholars in and highly prized the support and opportunity offered by the program s community of scholars, mentors, and staff. The mentorship, in particular, garnered particular praise from a great many students who valued the support and guidance their mentors offered. MUST Scholars valued, and indicated they want an increase in, community and communication. MUST GOAL 3 Provide hands-on research experiences that broaden interests in the aerospace industry. INDICATORS Eighteen scholars participated in NASA research during the academic year. Forty-five percent of MUST Scholars presented at a conference during the academic year.
8 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 4 Sixty-one scholars reported that they were members of at least one professional organization. MUST GOAL 4 Prepare students for a career in STEM by engaging them in holistic professional development experiences. INDICATORS Ninety-five percent of scholars in the fall sample and 99 percent of scholars in the spring indicated that they participated in at least one professional development activity that semester. Roughly 70 percent of scholars participated in at least two professional development activities, 40 percent participated in at least three activities, and 25 percent participated in four or more activities. Interview training, attending professional conferences and career fairs, and collaborating across networks were the top three types of professional development experienced across the year as reported by MUST Scholars. Sixty-five percent of scholars reported engaging in outreach activities in the spring semester. The majority of these activities were mentoring or tutoring younger students in STEM fields. Of the 90 MUST Scholars who completed the spring survey, 71 attributed accomplishments in the fields of leadership and outreach, academic focus and grades, and research experiences to their involvement with MUST.
9 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 5 Methods This report was produced by MPR based on analyses of data from surveys administered by the Hispanic College Fund to gather information about the effectiveness and impact of the MUST Project during the academic year. The Hispanic College Fund provided the data to MPR. The following describes the methods used to collect these data and the approaches used for analyzing them. Survey Design and Administration In addition to collecting demographic and enrollment data on all MUST Scholars, HCF administered seven web-based surveys to capture student and mentor perceptions of their MUST experiences. Students completed one survey at the end of each semester. Mentors also completed a survey at the end of each semester. The general constructs for the student surveys included the following: Demographics and other characteristics of participating students; Academic achievement of participating students; Areas of academic and professional interest among participating students; Participation in professional development and research activities; Perceptions of the mentorship experience; and Perceptions of the MUST Project in terms of quality, usefulness, and areas needing improvement. The mentor surveys focused on the following areas: Characteristics of participating mentors; Structure and activities of the mentorship; Quality of the mentees and the mentoring relationships; and Perceptions of mentoring program in terms of strengths and areas needing improvement. The internship survey asked students about the impact of the internship on their academics, career plans, and other skills.
10 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 6 Survey Response Rate Table 1 contains the response rate for each survey. Table 1. Survey Response Rates Survey Date Number of completed surveys Percent of completed surveys Student end-of-semester survey Fall Student end-of-semester survey Spring Mentor end-of-semester survey Fall Mentor end-of-semester survey Spring Student tutoring survey Spring Student outreach survey Spring Data Analysis For the purposes of these analyses, MPR aggregated the separate datasets generated by the surveys into a common Excel file. Students responses were matched across each of the endof-semester surveys, if possible. Mentors survey responses were also matched across the endof-semester surveys. Using this aggregated file, MPR produced descriptive statistics for all closed-ended survey items, including frequencies for each item and cross-tabulations of select items. Each open-ended item s responses were coded and summarized manually. The data were disaggregated by respondents characteristics gender, race/ethnicity, class year, year in MUST, Minority Serving Institution affiliation, and first-generation college student status. In the narrative, differences among these disaggregated groups are presented to illustrate how different types of students experienced and responded to MUST. In some cases, crosstabulations were used to show associations between type of student and specific outcomes.
11 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 7 Chapter 1: Developing STEM Expertise among Underrepresented Groups In administering the Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology (MUST) Project, NASA and the Hispanic College Fund (HCF) set several goals. The first was to develop science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) expertise leading to eventual degrees among groups who are currently underrepresented in the STEM workforce, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and individuals from rural and low-income communities. To evaluate the extent to which HCF met this objective, this chapter first examines whether currently underrepresented groups in the STEM workforce were served by MUST. The chapter then turns to examine MUST Scholars development of STEM expertise, their persistence in STEM majors, and whether they aspire to become part of the STEM workforce. This analysis is based upon the collection of end-of-semester surveys from students in fall 2011 and spring There were 115 MUST Scholars in fall HCF collected 113 surveys in the fall (98 percent) and 89 in the spring (77 percent). One-hundred and fourteen scholars completed at least one survey during the academic year (99 percent). Serving Underrepresented Students The MUST Project successfully served underrepresented students In fall 2011, the MUST Project served 115 students, compared with 100 students in fall Approximately 88 percent were new to MUST, while the remainder had participated in a prior year. Half the scholars were female. The diversity observed among MUST Scholars reflects the HCF goal to expand STEM expertise among students from underrepresented groups in the STEM workforce. Figure 1 shows the breakdown of MUST Scholars by race/ethnicity. Sixty-nine percent of scholars identified themselves as other than Caucasian, fewer than in when 81 percent did. Fewer scholars identified as Hispanic in (34 percent) than in (50 percent). Scholars were more likely to identify as Caucasian and Asian in than in (31 percent and 12 percent vs. 19 percent and 5 percent, respectively). In , only eight scholars identified themselves as first-generation college students, compared with 27 scholars in (although 68 scholars left this question blank). HCF does not outline specific targets based on race/ethnicity or gender for MUST, but it should be noted that the demographic profile of participants showed a higher percentage
12 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 8 of Caucasian students and a lower percentage of first-in-family students than the demographic profile. Figure 1. MUST Scholars by Race/Ethnicity, and Percent Caucasian African American Hispanic Asian Native American SOURCE: Fall demographic data on MUST Scholars collected by HCF, and Scholars were fairly evenly distributed in terms of their year in school, though there were more juniors and seniors and fewer sophomores than in the scholar group. There were 23 sophomores, 47 juniors, and 38 seniors representing 71 universities (Figure 2). The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had the most scholars with seven in attendance (consistent with last year), followed by eight schools with three scholars each. Seventeen students (16 percent) attended a Minority Serving Institution, similar to the 19 percent who attended in
13 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 9 Figure 2. Fall MUST Scholars by University Affiliation Name of university Number of MUST Scholars attending Name of university Number of MUST Scholars attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology 7 Florida Institute of Technology 1 Auburn University 3 Georgia Institute of Technology 1 California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo 3 *Hampton University 1 Carnegie Mellon University 3 High Point University 1 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University 3 Illinois Institute of Technology 1 *New Mexico State University 3 Mississippi State University 1 Texas A&M University-College Station 3 New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology 1 University of Michigan 3 *North Carolina A&T State University 1 University of South Florida 3 Northwestern University 1 California State Polytechnic University-Pomona 2 Pasadena City College 1 College of Saint Benedict 2 Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico-Hato Rey Campus 1 Harvard University 2 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 1 Johns Hopkins University 2 Rice University 1 North Carolina State University 2 Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey 1 *Prairie View A&M University 2 *Salish Kootenai College 1 *Spelman College 2 San Jose State University 1 The University of Alabama-Huntsville 2 *Sinte Gleska University 1 *The University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez 2 Smith College 1 The University of Texas at Austin 2 *Texas A&M International University 1 University of California, Merced 2 The City University of New York 1 University of California, San Diego 2 The College of William & Mary 1 University of Florida 2 The Ohio State University 1 University of Notre Dame 2 The University of Texas at Arlington 1 University of Pittsburgh 2 *The University of Texas at El Paso 1 Boise State University 1 Universidad Interamericana De Puerto Rico 1 Brooklyn College of The City University of New York 1 University of California, Los Angeles 1 Brown University 1 University of California, Riverside 1 California State University, Los Angeles 1 University of Connecticut 1 Central Michigan University 1 University of Maryland-Baltimore County 1 *Clark Atlanta University 1 University of Missouri-Kansas City 1 Clarkson University 1 *University of New Mexico 1 Clemson University 1 University of North Carolina at Charlotte 1 Columbia University 1 Washington University in St. Louis 1 Cornell University 1 Whitworth University 1 Drexel University 1 Williams College 1 Duke University 1 * Denotes Minority Serving Institution. SOURCE: Fall demographic data on MUST Scholars collected by HCF.
14 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 10 Scholars attended universities across 27 states and Puerto Rico. Similar to , the states with the greatest number of scholars were California, Massachusetts, and Texas (Figure 3). Figure 3. Number of MUST Scholars by State Where Enrolled Number CA MA TX FL NC NY PA AL NM GA MI PR MD IL IN MN MO VA CT ID MS MT NJ OH RI SC SD WA State SOURCE: Fall demographic data on MUST Scholars collected by HCF. Another way to examine the distribution of scholars nationally is by looking at representation by region (Figure 4). A plurality of MUST Scholars attended college in the South; the smallest percentages of scholars were studying in the Midwest and Puerto Rico. Figure 4. Fall MUST Scholars by Region Where Enrolled 4% 24% Northeast 39% West Midwest 20% South Puerto Rico 13% NOTE: Regions were determined using U.S. census classifications. SOURCE: Fall demographic data on MUST Scholars collected by HCF.
15 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 11 Developing STEM Expertise MUST Scholars took a high number of STEM classes Just over half of respondents felt that participating in MUST had positively The most significant benefit of my participation influenced their course selections, while in [the] MUST project this semester has been only slightly more than 10 percent of the effect that my summer experiences had on my approach to the semester. Following [the] scholars thought there was any negative symposium and my summer research, I entered influence. More survey respondents the fall semester very encouraged and excited reported a positive influence in the for my future in STEM. I think this had a very spring (53 percent) than in the fall positive effect on my school-work this semester. (48 percent), which is consistent with Junior MUST Scholar last year. Based on self-reported data collected from the student surveys, every MUST Scholar enrolled in at least one STEM class in both semesters (Figure 5). Seventy-nine percent of MUST Scholars took at least one natural science or math course (e.g., Chemistry or Physics), and more than half were in an engineering class. Similar to last year, the only difference between semesters was that more students enrolled in a class focused on space (e.g., Aeronautics/ Aerospace, Astronomy, or Astrophysics) in the spring (17 percent) than in the fall (12 percent). Figure 5. Coursework Taken by MUST Scholars, Specifically space-related course Natural science or math course Fall Spring Engineering course Any STEM class Percent SOURCE: Fall and spring end-of-semester survey data.
16 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 12 MUST Scholars reported positive effects of STEM classes As Figure 6 indicates, MUST Scholars were most likely to report that they encountered new concepts (over 98 percent in the fall and spring), increased their knowledge (over 95 percent in the fall and spring), and increased their interest in their field of study (92 percent and 90 percent in the fall and spring, respectively). In their end-of-semester surveys, about 90 percent of students reported that they had been challenged academically during the previous term. These percentages are similar to what scholars reported in Students reported that they encountered a new discipline (85 percent in the fall and 88 percent in the spring) or new paths to a career (65 percent in the fall and 75 percent in the spring) at slightly higher rates than in There were no meaningful differences by student demographic background. Figure 6. Effects of Coursework Participation in the MUST Project influenced my course selections this semester During the semester I felt like part of the MUST community Fall Spring I encountered new paths to a career I have not previously considered This has been a challenging semester academically I encountered new disciplines this semester The courses I took this semester increased my interest in my field of study The courses of study I took this semester increased my knowledge of my field of study I encountered new concepts this semester Percent SOURCE: Fall and spring end-of-semester survey data.
17 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 13 Field of Study A majority of students majored in engineering Just over half of the MUST Scholars for whom we have information reported that they were majoring in engineering, 32 percent reported science or math, and 13 percent selected a space-related major (e.g., Aerospace, Aeronautics, Astronautics, or Astronomy) (Figure 7). Compared with last year s scholars, there were slightly more engineering and space-related majors and slightly fewer science and math majors. MUST Scholars majors varied by certain individual characteristics. Compared with other students, first-in-family, seniors, students not at Minority Serving Institutions, and Hispanic scholars were more likely to be engineers and less likely to be science and math majors, findings similar to Male and female students were equally likely to pursue engineering, a change from when males were more likely. Figure 7. Field of Study 2% 13% Engineering major Natural science or math major 32% 53% Specifically space-related major Non-science major SOURCE: Fall demographic data on MUST Scholars collected by HCF. Academic Performance Most students had GPAs over 3.5 Grade point average (GPA) data for MUST Scholars for the fall semester who persisted in the program through the spring reveal that 56 percent had a GPA of 3.5 or higher (including 6 percent with a GPA higher than 4.0), 29 percent had a GPA between 3.0 and 3.49, and 16 percent had a GPA of less than 3.0 (Figure 8), compared with just 9 percent who had a GPA of less than 3.0 in This pattern is consistent with the findings from the
18 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 14 cohort, but this year, there was a lower percentage of GPAs over 3.5 and a higher percentage of GPAs under 3.0. GPA varied by student characteristics. When data were disaggregated by race/ethnicity, Caucasian students were most likely to have GPAs over 3.5 (70 percent), followed by Hispanics (54 percent) and African Americans (30 percent). Hispanic (17 percent) and African- American (25 percent) students had the highest percentage of GPAs below 3.0. Students who were the first in their family to attend college were also less likely than others to have GPAs over 3.5 (38 percent vs. 57 percent), and, unlike past years, these students were also more likely to have GPAs lower than 3.0 (50 percent vs. 12 percent). Students who attended a Minority Serving Institution were less likely than others to have GPAs over 3.5 but more likely to have GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5. There were no differences by major, gender, or year in school. Figure 8. Fall GPA Distribution of Spring MUST Scholars 6% 16% Less than % 29% Over 4.0 SOURCE: Spring end-of-semester survey data. Persistence in MUST Project Almost every eligible scholar renewed their scholarship The cohort of MUST Scholars consisted of 115 students, 82 of whom were eligible for continuing in the program. Of these 82 eligible scholars, 78 renewed their scholarship while the other four accepted industry internships instead. Of the 33 scholars who were not eligible for renewal, 30 of them graduated college, two did not meet GPA requirements, and the remaining scholar was a NASA Co-op student.
19 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 15 STEM Career Aspirations Most students indicated they want a job in engineering or spacefocused science When asked on the spring end-of-semester survey what their first-choice job would be upon graduation, the largest percentage of students reported wanting to work in engineering (57 percent) (Figure 9). This was followed by space-focused science or engineering (45 percent), computer engineering or computer science (31 percent), and mathematics or physics (26 percent). MUST has made me realize that a career in research astrophysics is not out of my grasp. Schoolwork can sometimes get overwhelming, but I think that the experiences I have had as a result of MUST provide me the inspiration to remember that I am working towards something I truly love. Junior MUST Scholar Figure 9. Career Aspirations Percent Other engineering Space-focused science or engineering Computer engineering or computer science Math or physics SOURCE: Spring end-of-semester survey data.
20 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 16 Current Plans A subset of scholars said they plan to attend graduate school in a STEM field In the spring survey, 17 out of 20 seniors indicated their current plans. Of these, 13 planned to continue to graduate school in a STEM discipline, five planned to work in STEM/aerospace, and three planned to work for NASA. Summary The analyses reported in this chapter indicate that during the academic year, MUST students (1) developed STEM expertise, (2) persisted in STEM majors and in the MUST Project in very high numbers, and (3) developed a strong interest in STEM careers. Recommendations Similar to last year s findings, first-in-family scholars were more likely to say that MUST positively influenced their course selections. Answering questions such as Do first-in-family students receive more guidance from MUST personnel? and Are they more likely to seek guidance? can help MUST Project staff better support this group. First-in-family students do have unique needs, and it would serve these students well for MUST to understand what support these students need and, ultimately, for MUST to create appropriate supports designed specifically for this group. Similar to last year, a small percentage of students enrolled in coursework related to space science (10 percent). About 10 percent of scholars also reported that they wanted to pursue aerospace career opportunities. It is possible that more scholars might become interested in aerospace if they had the opportunity to take more space courses. It may be that scholars do not have access to space science courses at their specific colleges. We can determine this by asking scholars if they have the option to take space science classes at their university and, if not, if they would be interested in taking a space science course if one was available. We found that 8 percent of students had GPAs lower than a 3.0 (which is the minimum requirement for the program) and that there were differences in GPA by student characteristics. For future analysis, we suggest examining changes in GPA from program entry to end of academic year to determine overall change. For example, an interesting question relating to scholars GPAs is whether African-American participants, who had lower GPAs than other groups by the end of the academic year, also had lower GPAs upon recruitment. Second, we suggest examining course selection for these students during the year.
21 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 17 It may be that some combination of increased attention to students who begin with lower GPAs and careful monitoring of student coursework would allow MUST Project staff to identify potentially struggling students and provide appropriate support. A goal of MUST is to serve youth from underrepresented populations, including students with disabilities, low-income students, and individuals from rural communities. We do not have any information on the extent to which students with these backgrounds were represented.
22 MOTIVATING UNDERGRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (MUST) 18 Chapter 2: Providing Support Services to Foster STEM Persistence MUST also provides support services, such as mentoring, tutoring, and direct support from MUST staff to encourage students to successfully complete their coursework and degrees. This chapter explores student use of MUST-sponsored support services provided in , as well as student perceptions of these services. This chapter also describes mentor participants and their experiences with the MUST Project during the academic year. Mentor Perspectives on Mentoring Each MUST Scholar has the option of being assigned a peer, graduate, or faculty mentor. Scholars can select to be matched with more than one mentor. A faculty mentor is asked to nurture and develop academic talent and expand knowledge of careers in academia, industry, and government. A graduate mentor focuses on helping scholars successfully complete undergraduate education and provides exposure to graduate school opportunities. They provide information regarding the skills, knowledge, and thinking abilities needed to be academically successful. A peer mentor relationship centers on a sense of equality and collegiality as peer mentors are likely to have similar experiences concerning academic challenges, questions about curriculum, majors, internships, and so on. Peer mentors are able to understand and appreciate the challenges of pursuing a STEM major. This analysis is based upon surveys mentors completed in fall 2011 and spring There were 106 mentors. Of these, 62 surveys were collected in the fall (58 percent response rate) and 53 in the spring (50 percent response rate). Seventy-six mentors completed at least one survey (72 percent) and 39 mentors completed a survey during both time periods (37 percent). For the 39 mentors who completed surveys for both time periods, we examined their responses in both the fall and spring and found only a few differences. Because mentors experiences were similar in the fall and spring, we have chosen to focus on the results from the 53 respondents who could respond to questions on the spring 2011 survey based on their year-long mentoring relationship. We have included comments on the slight differences we found between the fall and spring responses.