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Assessing Objective Attainment in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program Focused on Community College Students

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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

Research, Innovation and Careers

Tagged Division

Two-Year College

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32115

Download Count

4

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Paper Authors

biography

Jorge Loyo-Rosales Rice University

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Dr. Jorge Loyo joined Rice's Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) Engineering Research Center (ERC) in January 2016 as a lecturer and became NEWT’s Associate Director of Education in January 2017. Jorge coordinates and runs NEWT’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at ASU, Rice and UTEP, and a training program for the REU mentors. He developed and runs NEWT’s Core Course, offered to the center’s first-year graduate students. Jorge collaborates with NEWT’s Industry Liaison Officer and Innovation Ecosystem Director, and the Student Leadership Council in the planning of educational opportunities for NEWT graduate students and postdocs with the center’s industry partners and other professional development activities. At Rice, Jorge is an Adjunct Professor in the Civil & Environmental Engineering and Bioengineering Departments, where he developed and teaches CEVE/GLHT 314: Sustainable Water Purification for the Developing World, a project-based course on sustainable strategies for safe water supply in low-income and developing regions of the world. He collaborates in other project-based courses at Rice, such as Introduction to Engineering Design, advising undergraduate students in the development of water-related projects. He also works with Rice's Center for Civic Leadership in the development of activities to promote student community engagement, such as Alternative Spring Breaks and summer experiences with water-related NGOs in Mexico. Jorge’s previous research and teaching experience as a postdoctoral scholar and professor fall within the areas of water quality assessment, water and wastewater treatment, emerging organic pollutants, and ecotoxicology. He holds a B.Sc. in Food Chemistry from the National University of Mexico, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Armineh Noravian Arizona State University

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Armineh Noravian is a management research analyst at Arizona State University's Office of Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness. She has 20+ years of experience as an engineer and entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. She has taught engineering at San Francisco State University and, more recently, at Central Arizona College. Noravian holds a BSEE from The University of Sydney, and MS in engineering and MA in applied anthropology (cultural) from San Jose State University. She earned her Ed.D. at San Francisco State University. Correspondence regarding articles should be addressed to Armineh Noravian at armineh.noravian@gmail.com.

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Alison Cook-Davis Arizona State University

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Dr. Alison Cook-Davis is Assistant Director for Program Evaluation at the Arizona State University’s Office of Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness (UOEEE). She has a BA in Psychology, MS in Social Psychology, MLS Legal Studies, and a Ph.D. in Experimental Social Psychology. Prior to joining UOEEE, she supported the research and program evaluation efforts of Maricopa County Adult Probation Department, coordinated and executed the research and program evaluation for a large Department of Justice Second Chance Act grant. These efforts included monitoring, assessing, and evaluating the impacts of program outcomes. Since joining the UOEEE in 2015, Dr. Cook-Davis has led research and evaluation activities for over 50 separate grant-funded programs or initiatives funded by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, and The Kern Family Foundation. These projects have focused on the evaluation of student success, outreach impacts, innovative learning techniques, and STEM-related interventions and curricula.

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Carrie A. Obenland Rice University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0001-6775-2109

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Dr. Obenland is the Assistant Director for Outreach and Research at the Rice Office of STEM Engagement. She as her PhD in Chemistry from Rice University, as well as her Masters. Her graduate work was focused on chemical education. She earned her BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Carolyn Nichol Rice University

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Dr. Carolyn Nichol is a Faculty Fellow in Chemistry and the Director of the Rice Office of STEM Engagement (R-STEM). R-STEM provides teacher professional development to elementary and secondary teachers in science and math content and pedagogy, while also providing STEM outreach to the Houston Community. Dr. Nichol’s research interests are in science education and science policy. She received her B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, her doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, and served as a postdoctoral fellow in the College of Pharmacy at UT Austin. Prior to joining Rice University, she worked at Boehringer Ingelheim on innovative drug delivery systems and she was an Assistant Professor in Diagnostic Radiology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she conducted research on nonviral gene therapy systems. At Rice University she has developed and taught courses in The Department of Bioengineering including Numerical Methods, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Systems Physiology, Biomaterials and Advances in BioNanotechnology.

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Abstract

As part of the Engineering Research Center (ERC) Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) Center has run a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program every summer since 2016. Starting in 2017, the NEWT REU program focuses on offering research experience to community college students from the metropolitan areas (MA) of the center’s partner universities: Phoenix MA for Arizona State University (ASU), Houston MA for Rice, and El Paso MA for the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). The objectives of the NEWT REU program are specified in NEWT’s logic model, and they are to (1) provide community college students, especially from underrepresented minorities (URM) in science and engineering, with professional research experience in NEWT laboratories, (2) improve student participants' communication skills, specifically poster elaboration and presentation, (3) increase the number of URM students choosing to pursue careers or graduate studies in NEWT-related STEM fields, and (4) improve the mentorship skills of NEWT graduate students and postdocs participating as mentors. The NEWT REU program is run by NEWT staff from Rice and the students are placed for ten weeks in NEWT laboratories at ASU, Rice and UTEP, where they are generally mentored by graduate students. From the inception of the program, NEWT has collaborated with the University Office of Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness (UOEEE) at ASU to formulate the logic model and to provide external evaluation of the program. Evaluation is based on a social constructivism epistemological approach which assumes individual perceptions are relative and that reality is constructed socially. Therefore, participant perspectives obtained through interviews are used to provide insight on their perception of the REU experience. Evaluation of the 2018 REU cohort (9 out of 11 students were interviewed) showed that the first two program objectives are being met—objectives 3 and 4 require long term longitudinal data for evaluation. In addition, the constructivist approach yielded qualitative information that allowed for more specific program appraisal. For example, the evaluation revealed that students observed improvement in communication skills beyond those stated in the objectives (i.e., poster elaboration and presentation), such as being trained in how to read peer-reviewed articles. The evaluation also provided a more nuanced understanding of the quality of the student’s interaction with their mentors, allowing for better planning of mentor training in subsequent cohorts.

Loyo-Rosales, J., & Noravian, A., & Cook-Davis, A., & Obenland, C. A., & Nichol, C. (2019, June), Assessing Objective Attainment in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program Focused on Community College Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32115

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