As part of our comparative evaluation services, we compared critical outcomes of undergraduate computing students who had participated in the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) REU program to students who had other research experiences. Students who had participated in the DIMACS REU program reported greater gains in knowledge about graduate school, more interest in pursuing a research career, and more motivation to attain a PhD in computing or math compared to non-DIMACS students with other research experiences, ps < .05.
Note: DIMACS students n = 12; non-DIMACS students n = 30. Other research experience was defined as an intensive research project completed during the summer or school year at one’s own institution, another institution, or as part of an internship. Knowledge gained about graduate school was measured by asking students to indicate how much knowledge they had gained from their research experience in the following areas: what it is like to be a graduate student in computing; how to get financial support for graduate school; how to select the right graduate program for you; and criteria for admission to graduate program (1=not more than I had – 4=quite a bit more; responses were averaged across the four areas). Interest in a research career was measured by asking participants How interested would you be in having a computing job as a college/university professor; a researcher in industry or government (1=strongly disinterested – 4=strongly interested; responses were averaged across the two jobs).Education plans were measured by asking students What is the highest degree you plan to obtain? and providing students with a full range of degree levels to choose from.
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