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A Program to Prepare Engineering Students to Obtain High-Quality Employment

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

College Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31984

Download Count

2

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Paper Authors

biography

Gregory Scott Duncan Valparaiso University

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G. Scott Duncan is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Valparaiso University. He received a BSME (1990) from Purdue University and Ph.D (2006) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida. His research has focused on machine tool dynamics and the development of systems and components for the area of concentrated solar thermal chemistry.

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biography

Jeffrey Will Valparaiso University

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Will completed his B.S.E.E., M.S.E.E., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has been a full-time faculty member in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Valparaiso University since August of 2001. He teaches courses in senior design, computer architecture, digital signal processing, freshman topics, and circuits laboratories and is heavily involved in working with students in undergraduate research. Will is also a 2013 recipient of the Illinois-Indiana ASEE Section Outstanding Teacher Award.
Upon coming to Valparaiso University, Will established the Scientific Visualization Laboratory (SVL), a facility dedicated to the use of Virtual Reality (VR) for undergraduate education. Working exclusively with undergraduate students, Will developed VR hardware and software to be used in undergraduate STEM curricula. Under his direction, his students have developed over fourteen different software packages to be used in such educational fields as electromagnetics, vector calculus, statics, and materials science: all topics where students can benefit from a rich visual experience. Will currently advises twelve undergraduates in scientific visualization projects. Additionally, Will is an avid collaborator with colleagues outside the engineering discipline and has demonstrated visualization and virtual reality applications in psychology, foreign languages, photography, drawing, music, and library science. He is co-author of the textbook “Developing Virtual Reality Applications” and has published numerous pedagogical articles on the use of virtual reality for teaching. His contributions range from U.S. Patents to art exhibits.
Will is active in K-12 outreach efforts where his Virtual Reality system serves as a vehicle to interest students in STEM fields. He has given hundreds of demonstrations of the system to over 1200 visitors and works closely with local schools, especially those with underserved populations. He is active in partnering with the Valparaiso Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Chapter to mentor and provide visit days to middle-school girls. He has also worked with colleagues at Iowa State to develop the educational program “Boomtown,” with the goal of interesting middle-school girls in computer programming. After working with the SWE chapter closely for the past ten years, Will was named advisor for the chapter in the fall of 2013.
Will has been an active member of ASEE throughout his professional career, serving as an officer in his local section from 2002-2007 (Chair in 2005) and attending and publishing at national and sectional conferences.

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biography

Ruth E. H. Wertz Valparaiso University

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Dr. Wertz is an Assistant Professor of General Engineering at Valparaiso University, located in Valparaiso Indiana. She has earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Trine University, a M.S. in Civil Engineering from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education also from Purdue University. Dr. Wertz is a registered professional engineer with over 5 years of industry experience in Geotechnical Engineering. In addition Dr. Wertz has over 10 years classroom teaching experience across multiple face-to-face and distance formats. Her research interests include curriculum design, active learning pedagogies, and online engineering education.

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biography

Tom Cath Valparaiso University

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Bachelor of Arts in Economics from DePauw University and a Master's degree in International Management from Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management. Five years in commercial banking in Chicago (Continental Bank and Standard Chartered Bank) before spending twenty-eight years running the Career Center at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and serving as the men's tennis coach. Came to Valpo in 2009 to serve as Director of its Career Center.

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Abstract

The development of employment search skills is critical for engineering students to obtain high-quality employment. Most schools offer resources to assist in this skill development through their career centers, and a few schools offer either required or elective courses which focus on the main employment search skills of resume development, interviewing, etc. However, engineering students often do not recognize the importance of developing employment search skills or may procrastinate their search for internships and full-time employment. These students may fail to utilize career-center services, and such career-center services may not be focused specifically on obtaining engineering jobs. Moreover, many schools do not have space in their engineering curricula to add courses or the resources to offer engineering-focused courses to assist their students in the development of employment search skills. If engineering students do not develop the necessary skills to obtain employment, they may struggle to obtain their first job or obtain a subpar position that is not conducive to a strong start to their career. Additionally, the placement rate of the engineering program may suffer. The College of Engineering at Valparaiso University has developed an employment search skill development program to help students develop the necessary skills to obtain high-quality employment. Once deployed, this program requires minimal resources to administer and no new courses in the engineering curriculum. The program consists of stand-alone online learning modules for sophomore, junior, and senior engineering students in all disciplines. These Blackboard modules are administered by one person and associated with required courses in each discipline. The modules are comprehensive, consisting of multiple skill development sessions in each skill area, and each session consists of video instruction, a Blackboard quiz, and potentially an assignment. Upon completion of each of the Blackboard modules, each student’s grades for the program contribute to the final grades in the associated discipline courses, thus providing the students with the required motivation to complete the employment search skill development program. Student surveys and focus groups were completed to assess the employment search skill development program and to determine suggestions for improvement.

Duncan, G. S., & Will, J., & Wertz, R. E. H., & Cath, T. (2019, June), A Program to Prepare Engineering Students to Obtain High-Quality Employment Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/31984

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