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Twitter Chat – 20131120

bb_twitterchatPlease join us on Wednesday, November 20th at 8 PM EST for our weekly twitter chat on topics related to engineering education. This week, our guest host will be Dr. Fay Cobb Payton (read more about her below). Our topic will be Retaining and Graduating Underrepresented Students: Finding Creative Hooks for Broadening Participation.

Whether you’re an engineering student, an educator, or engineer working in industry, we hope you’ll find the #BigBeacon chat a beneficial opportunity for conversation and reflection. Join our #BigBeacon community as we chat about the transformation of engineering education. Don’t forget the #BigBeacon hashtag!

Retaining and Graduating Underrepresented Students: Finding Creative Hooks for Broadening Participation

Guest post by Dr. Fay Cobb Payton

In Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads from the National Academy of Sciences, leading scholars and researchers discuss the problems and potential fixes (and offers recommendations) associated with the underrepresentation of minority participation in STEM. As the title suggests, the US is experiencing multiple crossroads relative to research, education, workforce development, inclusion, global leadership and competitiveness. This challenge offers the field the opportunity to access and nurture the talents of all demographic sources. Diversity and inclusion of underrepresented minorities can play a critical role to broaden participation, yet creative hooks to engage the underrepresented talent pool warrants discussion.

While musical hooks capture the attention of the listener using often short riffs or passages that appeals to the ear, consider the potential to use such hooks to attract, retain and graduate underrepresented groups in STEM fields. To understand the hooks, culture and context must be respected and offer alternative mental models of who engages in STEM and how to attract underrepresented groups. This #BigBeacon Twitter chat will discuss these issues and opportunities as noted in the Big Beacon Mantifesto’s quote: “The status quo will not go easily, but go it must”.

About Dr. Fay Cobb Payton


Dr. Fay Cobb Payton is the director and founder of, a social network, UX experience that focuses on health disparities and social media technology interventions. @MyHealthImpact (Twitter) provides “voice” for the millennial generation about health topics, such as HIV and mental health, and technology innovation. Dr. Payton is an editor for Health Systems, an OR Society journal, and is an Associate Professor of Information Systems at North Carolina State University. She received the 2013 National Coalition of Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) Undergraduate Mentoring Award.

She earned a Ph.D. in Information & Decision Systems (with a specialty in Health Care Systems) from Case Western Reserve University. Prior to joining the academy, she worked in corporate IT and consulting for IBM, Ernst & Young/Cap Gemini and Time, Inc. Dr. Payton was featured in Diversity Careers in Engineering and Information Technology for her mentoring work with minority and majority STEM undergraduate and doctoral students.

See myhealthimpactnetwork.orgon the web and follow on Twitter @myhealthimpact.
Follow Dr. Payton at her personal Twitter account @drfayonline.

About Big Beacon

The Big Beacon is a Movement to Transform Engineering Education. An Illinois not-for-profit corporation, Big Beacon was organized to catalyze a global social movement to transform engineering education. The Big Beacon connects dots among individuals and organizations to collaboratively disrupt the status quo, thereby bringing about change to align engineering education with the creativity imperative of our times. Read the Big Beacon Manifesto

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How to Twitter Chat

If you’ve never Twitter chatted before, don’t worry; it’s very easy. First, get a Twitter account if you don’t already have one, and log in. At 8 PM ET on Wednesday go to and type #BigBeacon into the search box on Twitter. Thereafter all the tweets with the hashtag #BigBeacon will show up on your Twitter page. To participate, simply express your opinion by sending a tweet, and be sure to append the hashtag #BigBeacon so other members of the Twitter Chat see you are posting. Alternatively, automate the hashtag search and append feature by using the free service Tchat at

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