NEW MEXICO – An interdisciplinary research team at New Mexico State University (NMSU) is collaborating to develop a community for underrepresented students in electrical and computer engineering that offers opportunities to excel in the field.
As principal investigator, Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Luis Rodolfo Garcia Carrillo is leading a team that will create a community for students in an effort to improve retention and graduation rates.
Co-principal investigators include Hilda Cecilia Contreras Aguirre, a researcher in NMSU’s Office of Research, Creativity and Economic Development; Bill Hamilton, assistant professor of computer science; Marshall Taylor, assistant professor of sociology; and senior staff Lauren Cifuentes, university professor of curriculum and instruction.
“Our vision for the ECE Wisdom Community is motivated by recognition of the diversity of background, experience, perspectives and expectations of the student body and faculty in NMSU’s electrical and computer engineering department. NMSU provides a unique environment in which to study the convergence of diverse wisdom in a higher education community to provide ‘service’ to its students,” Garcia Carrillo said.
The team has received a grant of nearly $500,000 over three years from the National Science Foundation under the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program for the project “ECE-WisCom: Improving Student Achievement and Persistence through a Wisdom Community.”
The ECE Wisdom Community will include innovative learning and teaching along with the use of mixed reality platforms in an online learning management system to aid asynchronous online communication and collaboration.
The team plans to recruit about 30 students for its first initiative with the goal of including different groups of electrical and computer engineering students, including non-traditional students who have families and very little time.
In addition, ECE Wisdom Community will not only have an online community, but also a physical space on campus.
The research team plans to offer workshops and presentations highlighting their findings in collaboration with the NMSU HSI STEM Hub. They also plan to develop a website, so that other interested institutions can access information about the program.
“Our goal is to facilitate practices and activities that can be replicated and implemented not only in other disciplines at NMSU, but also in other academic settings, including minority-serving institutions and Hispanic-serving institutions with similar student populations and characteristics,” said Garcia Carrillo.