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Assessing the impact of a first-year experiential learning course on women and underrepresented students

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2018 FYEE Conference


Glassboro, New Jersey

Publication Date

July 24, 2018

Start Date

July 24, 2018

End Date

July 26, 2018

Conference Session

Technical Session I

Tagged Topics

Diversity and FYEE Conference Sessions

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Paper Authors


Liang Li Wu University of California, Irvine

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Liang (Lily) Wu is the Director of Academic Innovation, Programs at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, University of California, Irvine. Dr. Wu is responsible for implementing, overseeing and assessing the first-year engineering program and international programs to enhance and support the engineering education at the School of Engineering. Dr. Wu received her Ph.D. degree in Material Science and Engineering from the University of California, Irvine with primary research focuses on the design, development and integration of microfluidic systems for biomedical applications.

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Gregory N. Washington University of California, Irvine

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Gregory Washington is Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Stacey Nicolas Dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California Irvine. Professor Washington has been involved in multidomain research for the last 20 years. He is the first African-American Dean of Engineering at any of the University of California, Campuses. His core area of interest lies in the area of dynamic systems: modeling and control. During this time he has been involved in the following applications: the design and control of mechanically actuated antennas, advanced control of machine tools, the design and control of Hybrid Electric Vehicles, and structural position and vibration control with smart materials. He has written more than 150 technical publications in journals, edited volumes, and conference proceedings and is internationally known for his research on ultra-lightweight structurally active antenna systems and other structures that involve the use of “smart materials”. Professor Washington has served on several advisory boards to include the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and the National Science Foundation Engineering Advisory Board. He currently serves on the Pubic Policy Committee of the ASEE Engineering Deans Council. Professor Washington received his BS, MS and PhD degrees from NC State.

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This work in progress describes the implementation of a two-quarter first-year engineering program and the course impact on women and underrepresented students. The first-year engineering course focused on team-based experiential learning and taught the concept of engineering design through two hands-on projects, where students acquired engineering skills in CAD, basic machining, fabrication, circuitry and microprocessor programming. In addition, the course provided instructions on project management and teamwork, and opportunities to interact with faculty and industry speakers from different engineering disciplines. A control group was solicited among students who were not enrolled in the course during their first-year. Self-assessed student surveys were administered to both groups evaluating their motivation in engineering at the beginning of Fall quarter, and at the end of Winter quarter during their freshmen and sophomore year respectively. Survey results were compared between the cohort enrolled in the first-year course and the control group, among women and underrepresented students, to examine the impact of the course on student motivation.

Wu, L. L., & Washington, G. N. (2018, July), Assessing the impact of a first-year experiential learning course on women and underrepresented students Paper presented at 2018 FYEE Conference, Glassboro, New Jersey. 10.18260/1-2--31387

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