June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.150.1 - 22.150.14
AERIM Automotive-themed REU Program : Organization, Activities, Outcomes and Lessons LearnedAbstract:The department of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University (OU) received funding in2006-2008 and in 2010-2012 through the National Science Foundation REU program and theDepartment of Defense ASSURE program to organize a summer research experience forundergraduates (REU) program that focuses on automotive and energy-related research. TheAutomotive and Energy Research and Industrial Mentorship (AERIM) REU program at OaklandUniversity aims to engage participants in rewarding automotive research experiences that exciteand motivate them to pursue careers in scientific and engineering research, and seeks to addressthe nationwide problem of the under-representation of women and minorities in the sciences,technology, engineering and math (STEM).The primary automotive focus of this program was a natural choice given OU’s close ties to andlocation near the world headquarters and engineering centers of the Big-Three automakers, aswell as over one hundred automotive suppliers in southeast Michigan. Student participants workin teams on automotive and energy-related research projects in mechanical engineering and alsotake part in other activities such as industrial research lab and facilities tours, meetings withworking engineers, conferences and seminars. A total of 37 students– more than half of whomwere female - from 30 different universities have so far taken part in the program since itsinception in 2006.The purpose of this paper is to present some of the lessons learned from the first four years of theprogram. Some of the planning, logistics, procedures and outcomes will be described andanalyzed based on the results from the pre- and post-surveys conducted to assess the program.Emphasis will be placed on the lessons learned: what worked, what didn’t work and whatimprovements can be made in the following years. We believe that this type of informationwould prove useful to others seeking to organize similar programs.
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