Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date




Publication Title

2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


13 pp.

Conference Name

2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, June 25-28, 2023, Baltimore, Maryland


Eight semesters of qualitative data, collected over four academic years, are presented from a project that resulted in the development of a student professional learning community of high-achieving, low-income engineering and engineering technology student veterans. In the context of this project, student veterans received academic, professional, and financial support that helped them to be successful in school and to prepare them for a career in the STEM workforce. As adult learners, students in this learning community were a vital part of the curriculum development which resulted in increasing the students’ interest and buy-in. Typically, adult learners have lower levels of engagement than tradition-age students due to their non-traditional status. However, by engaging students in the development of a seminar course which served as the foundation for the student learning community, the course curriculum addressed student needs while being built on faculty expertise. Focus groups were conducted at the end of each semester to determine if students perceived the course as an effective professional development intervention. The course was comprised of various guest speaker who addressed different topics related to engineering, and the course also addressed other topics of professional development. In addition to hearing from various guest speakers, students also learned critical professional skills including how to search for an internship and/or permanent position; how to develop a cover letter, resume, and follow-up letter; how to prepare for and respond to questions during interviews; how to present themselves, how to dress, eat and hold a professional conversation at a formal meal during an interview; and how to network and follow-up after meeting people professionally. The guest speakers, veterans themselves, were excited to present to these highly motivated student veterans and to share their stories, and in the process, they inspired this next generation of engineers and engineering technologists.


© 2023 American Society for Engineering Education, ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings (Baltimore, Maryland, June 25-28, 2023)

Original Publication Citation

Dean, A. W., Tomovic, C., Jovanovic, V. M., & Bullington, K. E. (2023). Enhancing student veterans' self-efficacy and sense of belonging in a targeted learning community: Four years of qualitative results [Paper presentation]. 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore, Maryland.


0000-0002-4292-4039 (Tomovic), 0000-0003-4653-3008 (Bullington)