Icon for: Steve Cox

STEVE COX

Northern New Mexico College
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Steve Cox

    Steve Cox

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 09:54 a.m.

    I am happy to share a student video of our student STEM mentors reflecting on their work in both in-school and after-school settings. I look forward to sharing more details of our successes and struggles and to learning about your approaches to mentor training, development and placement and the impact this has on mentors, protegees and the classroom teacher.

  • Icon for: Barbara Berns

    Barbara Berns

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 10:49 a.m.

    I enjoyed hearing about this program, and am interested in its evolution - how you arrived at this point. What was your recruitment process, and what kind of commitment must mentors make for participating in the initiative? Who sets the stage with the public school educators, and how much interaction is there with the teachers before and after the mentors work with students? What is the tie-in with their existing curriculum? BTW, are the mentors compensated - course credit, stipends, etc?

  • Icon for: Steve Cox

    Steve Cox

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 11:35 a.m.

    Thanks for your note Barbara. This evolved from the notion that faculty can simultaneously support fragile STEM undergrads and K12 students and teachers via sustained shoulder-to-shoulder (one faculty and 2-4 undergrads) mentoring in schools and learning centers. As such, the faculty member sets the stage, recruits from her own students and coordinates efforts and curriculum with K12 teachers, librarians and youth development leaders in our network. Mentors enroll in a one-semester, one-credit training course. They devote between 1 and 8 hours per week to mentoring. Some receive $15/hour (via our NSF INCLUDES award) though many do it for community service hours, 100 of which are required for those pursuing a BS in Engineering. The tie-in to curricula has only now, in our second year, begun to emerge - and the mentors and I find this incredibly rewarding. In particular, our role in K12 has been hands-on, project based, small group STEM enrichment activities. Co-construction of these projects by faculty and mentor has seeded the development of more ambitious projects throughout our Engineering curriculum. 

  • Icon for: Barbara Berns

    Barbara Berns

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 12:34 p.m.

    Thanks. BTW, what does your research/evaluation model look like?

  • Icon for: Steve Cox

    Steve Cox

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 11:13 p.m.

    I view this more as a pilot implementation of proven methods on neglected soil. Once skeletal programs are co-constructed with those we wish to serve we can begin to formulate research questions that may help us steer in the right direction.

  • Icon for: Courtney Tanenbaum

    Courtney Tanenbaum

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 04:58 p.m.

     I have a comment similar to Barbara's. I really appreciated how your video emphasized the benefits of mentoring not just for the students, but for the mentors themselves. I'm curious whether you are collecting and analyzing data on the benefits of this model, not just for the target students, but for the mentors themselves.

  • Icon for: Steve Cox

    Steve Cox

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 11:15 p.m.

    Thanks Courtney. Yes, we are collecting responses from the mentors - though the best stuff so far has been qualitative and springs from their end of term papers in our mentoring class.

  • Icon for: Courtney Tanenbaum

    Courtney Tanenbaum

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 07:52 a.m.

    Ah! As a qualitative researcher, I'm pleased to learn that you are collecting qualitative data that can inform your efforts. How do you plan to disseminate the results and outcomes of your project? Do you think the mentoring model can be sustained after your funding ends?

  • Icon for: Steve Cox

    Steve Cox

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 10:41 a.m.

    I do intend to publish our qualitative and well as quantitative findings - once our collective stabilizes. And yes, I am optimistic that this model can be locally sustained once our pilot funding ends this October. Now that a culture of mentoring has been established I find multiple avenues by which to sustain it

    (a) Our engineering students require 100 hours of community service - and mentoring is now their preferred method for obtaining these hours.

    (b) Many of our students are eligible for work study compensation, and see mentoring as a powerful way to work.

    (c) Many community members, from Taos to Santa Fe, have been looking for ways to contribute in our struggling schools but lacked reliable school contacts and/or a structure that they could fit into. Our model has attracted such folks, and some of them are interested in tapping the larger student population of Santa Fe Community College.

  • Icon for: Laureen Pepersack

    Laureen Pepersack

    K-12 Teacher
    May 14, 2018 | 10:17 p.m.

    As a teacher who has had these great mentors working with my students, I have to say this was a phenomenal experience. My students gained insights that they would not have "heard" from me. Thank you Steve, Barbara and all involved with this great project!   You rock:) 

     
    1
    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Courtney Tanenbaum
  • Icon for: Kelly Riedinger

    Kelly Riedinger

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 08:13 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your work and I enjoyed watching this video. I appreciated that the mentors in the video shared some of the ways that they’ve benefitted from participation, including developing skills for communicating engineering to youth. Like Barbara and Courtney, I’m eager to learn more about the research/evaluation of the program. What are some of the research/evaluation questions you’re asking? What constructs are you measuring?

  • Icon for: Kersti Tyson

    Kersti Tyson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 15, 2018 | 01:56 p.m.

    Great to see this work and the mentors being highlighted in such a beautiful way!  

  • May 15, 2018 | 02:27 p.m.

    Hi Steve! Have you looked at any of the residual benefits this program has on building the capacity of teachers to design and implement hands-on STEM projects -- beyond their experience with the mentors, that is?

  • Icon for: Steve Cox

    Steve Cox

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 11:36 p.m.

    Great question Caron. I have evidence of this in our most intimate settings, skeletal makerspaces planted at 2 rural libraries. Beyond their few desktop computers we brought the first batch of interactive technology (robots, makey-makey, 3d printers) to these libraries, along with a trained college student to support the librarian and her community. These librarians have leveraged this modest start into successful grants for more equipment and training - and they share their knowledge between their communities without looking to the college as the hub or arbiter. These remarkable woman are however more free to create and experiment than the majority of the classroom teachers that we work with - as such the librarians are at the vanguard of our collective.

  • Icon for: Marina Bograd

    Marina Bograd

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2018 | 10:33 a.m.

    What a great learning experience for engineering undergrads!

    Could you share some of the challenges you might have encountered with mentor-mentee groups?  What training do the undergrad students receive prior to entering the classroom and interacting with the mentees?

  • Icon for: Steve Cox

    Steve Cox

    Lead Presenter
    May 18, 2018 | 11:28 a.m.

    Thanks for your note Marina. I don't believe in panaceas - but the only challenges we have encountered have been bureaucratic; drug testing, background checks and misfits between the college and K12 academic calendars. My guess is that so far my mentors have been early adopters and by their nature are fairly confident self starters that quickly absorb training and faculty role modeling and settle into the role. I may encounter more challenges as we grow to attract a significant fraction of the student body, but, by that time, I expect that a number of existing mentors will assume leadership roles that will strengthen the resolve of the recruits. Training has been both formal and informal. On the formal side I run a one credit training course every semester. It is discussion based on readings. The readings draw from texts on applied, educational and cognitive psychology. This past semester our college president added a serious component on leadership, here are the syllabi. On the informal side, we have mini-workshops for mentors as we move into new technologies, e.g., 3d printers, robots, scanners, arduino, makey-makey, etc.

  • May 20, 2018 | 08:59 a.m.

    The joy and pride evident as your mentors described their experiences mentoring and teaching (and learning along the way) really came through in this video. Nice job! Mentorship seems to bridge the old apprenticeship practices that ancient cultures so successfully employed in sharing and sustaining skills and 'job' needs for the community, with our current teaching in a classroom that includes experiential and problem-based learning. Do you see a more formalized role for mentorship in the public education system perhaps extending beyond graduations, in both K-12 and higher ed, in the 21st century? Is it perhaps a missing component that could address systemic problems?

  • Icon for: Steve Cox

    Steve Cox

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2018 | 12:10 p.m.

    Yes, Karen, I do believe that Mentoring has the potential to address systemic problems. At a recent political forum in a state, NM, that ranks near the bottom on all measures of childhood health and funding, a thoughtful participant asked me whether it was students or teachers who were to blame for the poor state of education. That is such a narrow way to view (judge) something as important as educating our young. Our teachers are notoriously underpaid and undervalued, and, with regard to STEM, often undertrained. Community mentors can and do address the latter two and, with sufficient numbers and focus, can shine light on the former. I do see mentoring not as simply a parade of successful role models pamphleting the unlearned but rather as key components in sustained, as you say, apprenticeships. That is, as partners in education that work with the same teacher and same handful of student apprentices each week throughout the academic year. In this I am guided by the work of Lave and Wenger on Situated Learning.

  • Icon for: Francis Nikolaus

    Francis Nikolaus

    K-12 Teacher
    May 20, 2018 | 01:59 p.m.

    Steve and team,

    As a teacher, I also believe that mentors can be a very powerful tool to help students find an interest and gain an understanding where they would normally not have an interest. Mentors many times can relate to students on a different level than that of a teacher, more personal because they are closer in age or just because they see them as someone who has gone through the same struggles. Awesome and powerful educational program.

    Your mentors in the video said a few things that stood out to me. Josef stated something along the lines of "trying something and having it fail and then try again until you get it right," this goes to the core of what I believe as a teacher, there is more power in learning from failure than getting it right the first time. The second statement that jumped out at me is when he referenced the power in learning by teaching something to others. We have adopted many principles from Robert Marzono and he states that having the ability to teach a concept to others is the highest form of understanding. Laura makes mention of having the mentor program allows more of the girls to get involved and maybe they will become engineers someday. I am hopeful that statement rings true.

    Awesome program! My only question is there difficulty finding mentors to come back to school and is it hard for them to get needed clearances to be in the school with the students?

    Thank you for sharing and best of luck,

    Francis Nikolaus

  • Icon for: Steve Cox

    Steve Cox

    Lead Presenter
    May 21, 2018 | 02:28 p.m.

    Thanks Francis - for sharing your keen observations. I am fortunate that finding mentors has been very easy - in fact I have more mentors than placements. I have some thoughts on why that is so. The path to college in Northern New Mexico is difficult and many of our students have endured real struggle and are also well aware of how tenuous their hold is on the academic ladder. These two things together provide incredible motivation to mentor. They clearly wish they had had more help from college-level folks when they were growing up, and, I believe more importantly, they have never seen themselves as content knowledgeable, let alone content leaders - and hence to enter a K12 classroom with a faculty member that presents them to the class as content experts and providers is an amazing boost to the mentor's confidence.

    Regarding clearance and such our under-resourced school districts have been open and welcome partners. In one case the school board members have paid for background checks out of their pockets.

  • Small default profile

    Amy Berger

    K-12 Teacher
    May 21, 2018 | 04:23 p.m.

    Steve and Team,

    As a current high school science teacher and department head, I find this program so beneficial to both the mentors and the students that are apart of this program.  What I like the most about the program that you have created is the use of connecting the mentors up to the schools that they graduated from; I think that this personal connection to the school allows the mentor the ability to feel like they are giving back to the system that got them to where they are today.  However, this also allows the currents students to see how when you take your education serious, it can have a major impact in where your future takes you. I'm so jealous of the opportunities that these mentors are able to provide these K-12 student with, so many times I'm asked a question by my students with regards to engineering or another STEM field career that I can only briefly give an answer to due to not being an expert in every career option available in the realm of science. 

    While I was watching this video one of the big questions I was thinking about was how you set up your program.  I'm assuming that most of the mentors have full time jobs or full time class loads in their fields, so is this something that was offered during the school day or as an after school opportunity? How did you choose the schools and students that you would work with? As well as how did you choose the topics that the mentors were going to be covering with the students? 

    Thanks for sharing this fantastic program!

    Amy Berger

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.