ENGRain Program Aids First Year Students in Learning to Be Speed-Ready
February 13, 2023
By Holly Hinson
Arriving on campus in Fall 2022, Speed School freshman Wes Logan was interested in any and all opportunities that would help him dive first into Speed School life. He found the perfect fit in the ENGRain Student Success Series offered for first-year students.
The new ENGRain program encourages participants to attend sessions on developing student success skills, and students who attend all four sessions receive a $100 scholarship. In addition, for each session a student attends, they receive an entry in a drawing for a $2,000 scholarship. Additional entries for that scholarship were earned for attending academic coaching sessions through REACH, which paid off for Logan. Through luck and his hard work, Logan was the recipient selected for the $2,000 scholarship.
He said he found out about ENGRain when reps from the program visited his Engineering 110 course last semester, and he was immediately sold.
“I want to get as much exposure as I can early on and get involved in as much as I can,” said Louisville native Logan. “They were offering conferences with previous students, and I thought I could use their experience to my advantage, to achieve the same success that they did.” The freshman said the sessions have increased his comfort level with his transition to the university. “I really have not experienced too many growing pains coming into Speed School,” he said.
The ENGRain sessions, which change slightly each semester, include such topics as resiliency, grit, campus involvement, financial literacy, transitioning to summer/sophomore year and more. The goal is to help students gain confidence in seeking assistance and navigating campus resources,” said Rennie Davis, First-Year Experience Coordinator.
Davis said with the input of Engineering Fundamentals faculty and the Office of Student Success developed the most helpful topics for first-year students to hit the ground running for their Speed School experience. “It’s a holistic skills set from basic everyday skills like time management, networking, searching for co-ops, and being involved outside the classroom,” said Davis.
What kind of topics resonated the most for Logan? “Time management was a big one,” he said. “Just knowing how much you can fit into your schedule, picking priorities.” Another major student success skill covered was getting involved. “They don’t want engineering students to be alone,” said Logan. “It’s a lot better to study in groups and put yourself out there.”
Beyond studying engineering, which he is indeed enjoying, Logan said his favorite part of his experience thus far has been meeting people and making new friends. “I always thought I was an introvert, but I’ve found in the past six months I am an extrovert, which is not something I was expecting.”
As a second semester freshman, Logan is involved in the Formula SAE Club, which is a group that builds a race car and races against other colleges and organizations. ”It’s the pinnacle of motorsport; they build marvels of engineering on wheels,” he said.
Not surprisingly, the mechanical engineering major said his dream job would be to be an engineer for a Formula One team one day.
According to Davis, ENGRain students are responding very positively to the opportunities the series of sessions provides. In its first semester, 79 students completed all four sessions of the program, with 179 students attending at least one session.
“What I saw interacting with students was that they were incentivized to attend these sessions and the result was that it builds a whole new cohort in itself, with students showing up with the same people multiple times,” said Davis. “Also, the fact they know somebody in person from the Office of Student Success and have interacted with them is beneficial because they have people they can rely on, which ultimately builds retention.”
ENGRain is providing tools that will lead to a trajectory to make every student more successful, which looks different for every student, said Davis.
“In college, we all start with an empty toolbox and by the time you get to a job interview, you can pull out every tool to show an employer,” she said. “We wanted some kind of series to address helping our students be better students, and better humans outside the classroom. It’s not just about your GPA but how great you are as an individual and as a member of your community.”