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An NSF REU Site with Integrated Academia-Industry Research Experience – Four Years on the Road

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Conference

2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

7

DOI

10.18260/1-2--41990

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/41990

Download Count

258

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Paper Authors

biography

Zhaoshuo Jiang San Francisco State University

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Dr. Jiang graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering. He worked as a structural engineer in multiple firms (e.g., Skidmore, Owings & Merrill), before joining San Francisco State University as a faculty member. As a licensed professional engineer in the states of Connecticut and California, Dr. Jiang has been involved in the design of a variety of low-rise and high-rise projects, including office towers, retails, hotels, courthouses, and theatre according to the U.S. and international building codes. He is a member of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC), Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), and American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE).

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Juan Caicedo University of South Carolina

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Robert Petrulis

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Abstract

Most engineering students see industry or research career paths as binary. In their minds, a person can either focus on research (academic career) or design and management (industrial or professional career). This perception has a negative impact on the profession as it leads to missed opportunities to solve practical problems by applying new fundamental research, as well as basing fundamental research on current engineering problems.

Smart Structures Technologies (SST) is receiving considerable attention as the demands for high performance in structural systems increase. Although both the academic and professional engineering worlds are seeking ways to utilize SST, there is a significant gap between engineering science and engineering practice. To bridge the gap and facilitate the research infusion, San Francisco State University (SFSU) and the University of South Carolina (UofSC) collaborated with industry partners to establish a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site program, which provides undergraduate students a unique opportunity to experience research in both academic and professional settings through cooperative research projects.

The program featured: formal training, workshops, and supplemental activities in the conduct of research; research experience through engagement in projects with scientific and practical merits in both academic and industrial environments; experience in conducting laboratory experiments; and opportunities to present the research outcomes to the broader community at professional settings. Populations from underrepresented minority groups are the main audience for this REU program.

The three-year REU program was first implemented in the summer of 2018 and concluded in summer 2021, with a pause in 2020 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper describes the details of the program implementation in terms of recruitment, participant selection, partnership with industry, sustained mentorship, and its potential impact. The paper also describes findings from the program’s external evaluator.

The program featured: formal training, workshops, and supplemental activities in the conduct of research in academia and industry; innovative research experience through engagement in projects with scientific and practical merits in both academic and industrial environments; experience in conducting laboratory experiments; and opportunities to present the research outcomes to the broader community at professional settings. Populations from UR groups are the main audience for this REU program.

The three-year REU program was first implemented in summer 2018 and concluded in summer 2021, with a pause in 2020 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper describes the details of the program implementation in terms of recruitment, participant selection, partnership with industry, sustained mentorship, and its potential impact, and ends with some findings from the program’s external evaluator.

Jiang, Z., & Caicedo, J., & Petrulis, R. (2022, August), An NSF REU Site with Integrated Academia-Industry Research Experience – Four Years on the Road Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41990

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