Attract, Inspire, Mentor AND Support Students - The AIMS² Program

AIMS2-CSUN
State
California
Academic Level
Baccalaureate
Issue Area
Transfer
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Institutional Change,
Undergraduate Research

Overview

The mission of the AIMS² Program is to increase the enrollment and graduation of Hispanic and low-income students in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at CSU Northridge, close the achievement gaps between traditionally underserved and better served students, and improve student success. Beginning with transfer students from Glendale CC and College of the Canyons and first time transfer students in CECS at CSUN in 2011, the program presently in its seventh year has expanded to serve students at two additional community colleges (Moorpark and LA Pierce College), and CSUN freshmen in multiple cohorts. The program has been instrumental in improving academic achievement, transfer success, degree completion, career preparation, and research skills of Hispanic and low-income students in the college. A strong external advisory committee of experts and alumni serves as a resource for the program and Latino students in particular helping advance their academic and career goals.

Program Description

In 2011, the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) at CSU Northridge, received a five-year, $5.5 million HSI STEM grant from the U.S. Department of Education to implement a program to increase the number of low-income, Hispanic, and underrepresented students graduating from CSUN with engineering and computer science majors. This collaborative project entitled AIMS² (for Attract, Inspire, Mentor and Support Students), was led by CSUN, along with Glendale Community College (GCC) and the College of the Canyons (COC). Students in the AIMS² cohorts (400+ to date) are supported with stipends, special mentoring and advisement by faculty, tutoring, peer mentoring, social activities, field trips, and opportunities to take part in paid research projects. Outreach activities by cohort students to other colleges and high schools help raise awareness of the grant and encourages future students. Cohort students, for instance, created a web portal that allows all USDE supported HSI-STEM grantees across the country to collaborate. Many students from the cohort have been recognized at national conferences including AHSIE, HACU, and HEENAC. In 2016, AIMS² received a sequel five-year grant from USDE that has allowed them to expand services to freshmen, transfer students, and add two more partner institutions. Their results attest to the positive effects of student-faculty interaction, peer-peer interaction, and student research participation on Latino/a student experiences and learning.

Outcome

  • Increased persistence and completion: In the 2013 cohort, 54 of 63 students graduated within six-years (86%) and 5 continue to be enrolled in the program.
  • Increased completion of gateway courses: In 2017-18, across all AIMS2 partner institutions, 67% to 80% of Hispanic students successfully completed gateway courses in engineering and computer science.
  • Increased Latino degree completion in STEM: The program has tripled the number of Latino/a students graduating in computer engineering and computer science (CECS) majors from 57 in 2012-13, to 171 in 2016-17.
  • Fostered positive career outlook: Latinos had a more positive outlook of their future career goals and achievements with 100% reporting that they felt prepared to pursue their preferred first position after graduation, compared to the 63% of non-Hispanic students.