It has been a major goal of the United States government to increase the participation of Americans in the fields of Science & Engineering (S&E), especially in under-represented groups. This research examines the use of an embodied conversational agent (ECA) as a virtual mentor to African American undergraduates who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in computing. Mentoring advice was collected from a group of experts and programed within the ECA. A between-group, mixed method experiment was conducted with 37 African American male undergraduate computer science majors where one group used the ECA mentor while the other group pursued mentoring advice from a human mentor. Results showed no significant difference between the ECA and human mentor when dealing with career mentoring functions. However, the human mentor was significantly better than the ECA mentor when addressing psychosocial mentoring functions.
Gosha, Kinnis; Gilbert, Juan E.; and Middlebrook, Kamal, "A Qualitative Analysis of Using a Virtual Mentoring Program on Black Computer Science Students" (2016). Morehouse Faculty Publications. 18.
International Journal of Education and Human Developments vol. 2 no. 1; January 2016