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A Follow-Up Study of a First-Year Leadership and Service Learning Module

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Experiences in Engineering Community Engagement

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.42.1 - 23.42.26



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Paper Authors


Farzana Ansari University of California, Berkeley

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Farzana Ansari is a graduate student studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in May 2012 and her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on retrievals analysis and novel material characterization for orthopedic devices, particularly those for shoulder replacement. Her work experiences in industry and government reflect her interest in the intersection between medical device innovation, development, and regulation. She also has educational experience in leadership studies through several training programs, including a vigorous course on “The Art and Adventure of Leadership” taught by recognized leadership gurus, Drs. Warren Bennis and Steven Sample.

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Jennifer Wang University of California, Berkeley

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Jennifer Wang is a graduate student in the Graduate Group in Science and Mathematics Education, focusing on Engineering Education at the University of California, Berkeley. She also obtained her B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Berkeley. Wang has several years of experience tutoring students and working with schools, and became interested in education through these experiences. Her primary interest is in informal learning environments and educational technologies. She currently conducts research with the Lawrence Hall of Science on their engineering exhibits and works to improve the facilitation and design of the exhibits. Her research focuses on how science center visitors engage and tinker at engineering activities and the impacts of these open-ended tinkering activities in terms of STEM learning and engineering understanding.

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Ryan Shelby University of California, Berkeley

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Ryan Shelby is a joint 2013-2014 Millennium Challenge Corporation-Arizona State University Science and Technology Fellow at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
His research project at MCC focuses on the design and implementation of microgrids to aid the expansion of modern electricity services in six Sub Saharan African countries: (1) Sierra Leone, (2) Liberia, (3) Ghana, (4) Benin, (5) Tanzania, and (6) Malawi.
Prior to his current position at MCC, Shelby was a dual J. Herbert Hollomon and Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy fellow within the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) working on engineering education initiatives and the application of operational system engineering techniques for peace building and diplomacy endeavors in Libya, Kenya, and Haiti.
Shelby recently completed his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in mechanical engineering where he focused on the user needs analysis, co-design and implementation of sustainable homes and energy systems that meets the cultural sovereignty, economic, climate adaptation, and tribal sovereignty needs of Native American tribes in northern California.
Shelby received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley with a concentration in design, and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University with a concentration in propulsion systems. Shelby also received certifications for his completion of the Engineering and Business for Sustainability and the Management of Technology programs at UC Berkeley in 2008 and 2010 respectively.
Shelby is an ardent supporter of engineering education and community based design research. He has received several awards for his teaching and community partnership activities such as the Center for Research on Social Change Graduate Fellows Award in 2011, the Chancellor's Awards for Public Service, Community Assessment of Renewable Energy and Sustainability-Pinoleville Pomo Nation Partnership in 2010, Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award in 2010, and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance’s Advanced E-Team Community Assessment of Renewable Energy and Sustainability Award in 2007.

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Eli Patten University of California, Berkeley Orcid 16x16


Lisa A Pruitt University of California, Berkeley

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Dr, Lisa Pruitt's research is focused on structure–property relationships in orthopedic tissues, biomaterials and medical polymers. Her current projects include the assessment of fatigue fracture mechanisms and tribological performance of orthopedic biomaterials, as well as characterization of tissues and associated devices. Surface modifications using plasma chemistry are used to optimize polymers for medical applications. Attention is focused on wear, fatigue, fracture and multiaxial loading. Retrievals of orthopedic implants are characterized to model in vivo degradation and physiological loading. Medical implant analysis for structure-function-performance is performed to optimize device design. Her pedagogical experience includes curriculum development in mechanical engineering and bioengineering. Dr. Pruitt's teaching experience includes the freshman course entitled Introduction to Engineering Design and Analysis, undergraduate courses on Mechanical Behavior Materials, Structural Aspects of Biomaterials, and Principles of Bioengineering; graduate courses on Fracture Mechanics, Mechanical Behavior of Materials, Polymer Engineering, and Teaching Methodologies for Graduate Student Instructors.

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The Impact of a First-Year Leadership and Service Learning Module: A Follow-up StudyProfessional skills – proficiencies such as leadership, teamwork and communication – are oftenunderemphasized and even neglected in engineering programs. Team-based service learning anddesign projects are pedagogical methods that nurture these skills. Moreover, service learning hasthe potential to attract and retain women in engineering.A five-week module focusing on leadership and service learning was implemented as part of afirst-year engineering course in 2011. This module presented mechanisms for developingprofessional skills and provided hands-on application of these skills through a K-12 servicelearning project at a science museum. The other modules offered in the course emphasizedtraditional engineering topics. This longitudinal study focuses on the impact of the non-traditional leadership module on its students as they enter their third year in engineering.Our previous study demonstrated that incorporating leadership studies into a freshman-levelengineering course correlated with increased confidence in students’ abilities, which couldpositively impact retention. Twenty-four students from both leadership and non-leadershipmodules were assessed over one year later using the same online survey based on ABET/NAEcriteria with additional open-ended questions. Follow-up data reveal that alumni of theleadership module further increased their confidence in communication, analytic, andleadership/management skills, and are generally more aware of the role of leadership inengineering. Qualitative comments show these students felt they gained influential earlyexposure to what a successful engineer needs: applicable and practical skills, teamwork, projectmanagement, communication, and problem solving, consistent with our earlier findings. Manycontinued to take on leadership roles in extracurricular activities, internships, and class projects,including one who is a founding member of Design for America at the university.Our continued collection of survey data from a one-year follow-up evaluates the long-termeffects of leadership on students’ confidence in both academics and industry.

Ansari, F., & Wang, J., & Shelby, R., & Patten, E., & Pruitt, L. A. (2013, June), A Follow-Up Study of a First-Year Leadership and Service Learning Module Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19056

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