Professors John Sahr and Linda Bushnell were the stars of the show at a recent information session for students in January 2016. The information session was specifically for students enrolled in the Washington STate Academic RedShirt (STARS) in Engineering Program, which supports incoming freshmen who are interested in pursuing an engineering degree and who are from economically and educationally underserved backgrounds.
At the information session, Sahr and Bushnell spoke about their experiences working, teaching and conducting research in electrical engineering. Five electrical engineering students also shared their experiences, from academics to research to internships.
With engineering programs having among the most challenging curricula, STARS is designed to help students build the necessary skills and support systems to successfully navigate the challenges they encounter while completing an engineering degree. During their first two years of college, participants receive a specialized curriculum designed to prepare them to pursue an engineering major. As part of the program, they are guaranteed acceptance into one of the UW’s 10 engineering programs. Last year, STARS students had a cumulative GPA that was, on average, 0.33 higher than their non-STARS peers.
The STARS program, which was founded in 2013, is an initiative led by EE Professor Eve Riskin, Associate Dean of Diversity and Access. A National Science Foundation grant was secured to start the program.