The JEDI Ambassador program aims to foster student advocacy by empowering undergraduates to participate in transforming CEC and FIU through Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR). The JEDI program is a yearlong cohort-based student advocacy ambassador program focused on education research and organizing by undergraduate engineering students. This novel program is action-oriented and draws on a partnership with the Center for Diversity and Student Success in Engineering and Computing (CD-SSEC) to train the researchers, scholars, and advocates of tomorrow while catalyzing change for the local engineering educational culture. Project areas include interview studies with marginalized engineers to promote awareness of their experiences with faculty, institutional data and survey study on gateway courses to address attrition issues, creation and evaluation of a programs for recruiting underrepresented student groups. Ambassadors form small project groups to take on specific initiatives while being mentored by PI and graduate student mentors.
Engineering educational institutions, including at Hispanic Serving Institutions like FIU, require a culture change to continue to see impacts on metrics for retention, recruitment, and graduation. Insight into the issues with engineering institutions, the mechanisms for shifting them, and the highest impact interventions will come from the students with direct experience. By empowering students, the JEDI program will have important local impact on promoting social justice, a culture of inclusion, and recruiting underrepresented student groups into engineering through the impact of JEDI student-identified and -led project initiatives. Although we are developing this model at FIU, the programmatic elements and approach will translate to broader contexts within engineering education. The projects will also provide research experiences for the undergraduate students, and show the power of research tools to impact their local community. JEDI program ambassadors will become leaders in creating research and training that not only generates knowledge, but centers JEDI towards broadening participation in STEM. Together our well-qualified and dynamic team will bring a sea change in STEM education, education research, and research training towards inclusion and justice for all students.
- FIU news article: https://cdssec.fiu.edu/jedi123/