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A Pilot Interdisciplinary Robotic Mentorship Project to Study Engineering Soft Skill Development

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Conference

2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting

Location

Virtually Hosted by the section

Publication Date

November 12, 2021

Start Date

November 12, 2021

End Date

November 13, 2021

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38420

Download Count

43

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Paper Authors

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WenYen Huang SUNY New Paltz

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WenYen (Jason) Huang, huangj18@newpaltz.edu, is Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at SUNY-New Paltz. Jason has a particular interest in utilizing technology for enhancing student’s understanding and improving teacher’s instruction in the STEM classroom. He is a former high school mathematics teacher.

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Ping-Chuan Wang State University of New York at New Paltz

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Dr. Ping-Chuan Wang is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Engineering Programs at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz. He received his B.S. from National Tsing-Hua University in Taiwan in 1990 and M.S. and Eng.Sci.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Columbia University in 1995 and 1997, respectively. Subsequently he joined IBM Microelectronics as an R&D scientist/engineer for a 21-year career in the microelectronics industry to develop advanced semiconductor technologies. He joined SUNY New Paltz in 2018 with expertise in materials science and solid mechanics, as well as research interests in stress-induced phenomena in engineering materials, microelectronics reliability and additive manufacturing of metals. He has over 50 technical publications and many US Patents related to microelectronics technologies.

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Seth Pearl Pennsylvania State University

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Seth Pearl, F.E. is currently a PhD student at The Pennsylvania State University pursuing his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering. He recently received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Digital Design and Fabrication at the State University of New York at New Paltz. During his undergraduate studies, Seth was an active member in the New Paltz American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a teaching assistant for multiple Engineering courses, and conducted research involving hydrokinetic energy of bladeless turbines submerged in water and air flow that was presented at multiple ASEE conferences. His work placed third in the 2019 Annual Conference Fall ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section student poster competition and also placed third in the 2020 Annual Conference Spring ASEE Northeast Section student paper competition. His research for the 2021 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Conference was conducted while he was a student at SUNY New Paltz.

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Abstract

A Pilot Interdisciplinary Robotic Mentorship Project to Study Engineering Soft Skill Development

As the complexity and diversity of general engineering practices continue to increase, it is becoming apparent that simply providing technical knowledge within the chosen discipline is insufficient to prepare our engineering students for related employment opportunities. The engineering workforce today is expected to perform effectively in a multi-disciplinary environment, underlining the importance of soft skills that include interdisciplinary communication, teamwork and leadership. Despite the increasing awareness, the gap between graduates’ soft skills prepared by academics and those required in the job force stays significant, if not continues to widen. In collaboration between the engineering and education departments at XXXXXX, a robotics mentorship program was designed as a platform to foster soft skill development of engineering students. The program entails participation from three groups: mechanical and electrical engineering students, adolescence mathematics teacher candidates, and high school students in an after-school robotics club. A two-semester pilot project was conducted for feasibility study, comprising weekly planning and training between engineering students and adolescence mathematics teacher candidates at XXXXXX. Furthermore, a resulting workshop series to mentor the robotics club at XXXXXX High School in XXXXXX School District was developed to cover topics from CAD and microcontroller to engineering notebook and experience in robotics competition. Even though the execution was abruptly interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the first semester and completely moved to online in the second semester, survey and interview data was collected on five undergraduate engineering students and three mathematics teacher candidates, which offer encouraging qualitative evidence of their soft skills development, particularly for the engineering mentors. In this presentation, we will introduce the collaborative mentorship program and the differentiating design considerations, then discuss the results with focus on: 1) the journey of these engineering students as they collaborate with mathematics teacher candidates and serve as mentors in the afterschool program, 2) the impact of the interdisciplinary model on fostering their soft skills, and 3) lessons learned from this pilot project and the plans for broader study in the next phase.

Huang, W., & Wang, P., & Pearl, S. (2021, November), A Pilot Interdisciplinary Robotic Mentorship Project to Study Engineering Soft Skill Development Paper presented at 2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting, Virtually Hosted by the section. https://peer.asee.org/38420

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