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Assessing the Impact of an REU Program on Students’ Intellectual Growth and Interest in Graduate School in Cybermanufacturing

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

NSF Grantees: REU 1

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors

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Pavan Kumar Moturu Texas A&M University


Bimal P. Nepal Texas A&M University

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Dr. Bimal Nepal is a Professor and Associate Director of Industrial Distribution Program at Texas A&M University. His research interests include integration of supply chain management with new product development decisions, distributor service portfolio optimization, pricing optimization, supply chain risk analysis, lean and six sigma, large scale optimization, and engineering education. He has authored over 100 refereed articles in leading journals and peer reviewed conference proceedings in these areas. He has B.S. in ME, and both M.S. and Ph.D. in IE. He is a member of ASEE, INFORMS, ASEM, and a senior member of IISE.

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Prabhakar Reddy Pagilla Texas A&M University

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Prabhakar Pagilla is the James J. Cain Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1996. His formal background and expertise are in the general areas of dynamic systems and control with applications in manufacturing and robotics. His research interests lie in modeling and control of roll-to-roll manufacturing systems; control of large-scale complex systems; robotics/mechatronics; and adaptive and robust control of nonlinear dynamic systems.

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Satish Bukkapatnam Texas A&M University

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Satish T. S. Bukkapatnam received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in industrial and manufacturing engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. He currently serves as Rockwell International Professor with the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering department at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA. He is also the Director of Texas A&M Engineering Experimentation Station (TEES) Institute for Manufacturing Systems. His research in smart manufacturing addresses the harnessing of high-resolution nonlinear dynamic information, especially from wireless MEMS sensors, to improve the monitoring and prognostics, mainly of ultraprecision and nanomanufacturing processes and machines, and wearable sensors for cardiorespiratory processes. His research has led to over 160 peer-reviewed publications (100 published/ accepted in journals and 68 in conference proceedings); five pending patents; $6 million in grants as PI/Co-PI from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the private sector; and 14 best-paper/poster recognitions. He is a fellow of the Institute for Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), and his work has been recognized with Oklahoma State University regents distinguished research, Halliburton outstanding college of engineering faculty, and Fulbright-Tocqueville distinguished chair awards.

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The advancements in information technology and computational intelligence have transformed the manufacturing landscape allowing firms to produce highly complex and customized product at relatively short amount of time. However, our research shows that lack of skilled workforce remains a challenge in the manufacturing industry. To that end, providing research experience to undergraduates has been widely reported as a very effective approach to attract the students to industry or graduate education in engineering and other STEM-based majors. This paper presents assessment results of two cohorts of cybermanufacturing REU at a major university. Students were recruited from across the United States majoring in multiple engineering fields such as industrial, mechanical, chemical, mechatronics, manufacturing, and computer science. Several of the participants were also rising juniors who did not necessarily have any industry internship or prior research experience. In total, there were 20 students (ten per year) and each worked on a separate project topic under the guidance of graduate student mentor and faculty mentor. Unlike a typical REU program, the cybermanufacturing REU involved few unique activities such as 48-hour intense design and prototype build experience, industry seminars and visit among other things.

Overall, the REU students demonstrated significant gains in all of the twelve research related competencies that were assessed as a part of formative and summative evaluation process. While almost all of them wanted to pursue a career in advanced manufacturing including cybermanufacturing, interestingly majority of the participants preferred industry career over graduate school. The paper provides an in-depth discussion on findings of the REU program evaluation and its impact on undergraduate students with respect to their future plan and career choice. The analysis is also done by gender, ethnicity, academic level (sophomore, junior, senior), prior research or industry internship, and the type of home institution (e.g., minority serving institutions, large research universities, rural and small schools) to explore if there was any significant difference in mean research competency scores based on these attributes.

Moturu, P. K., & Nepal, B. P., & Pagilla, P. R., & Bukkapatnam, S. (2020, June), Assessing the Impact of an REU Program on Students’ Intellectual Growth and Interest in Graduate School in Cybermanufacturing Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34183

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