June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session
We report results of a multi-year summer undergraduate research program (REU) focused on diagnostic and therapeutic biomedical devices. The goals of the project include fostering independent research skills, recruitment from underrepresented groups and/or schools with limited research opportunities, and professional development particularly targeting entrepreneurship and innovation. Pre/post surveys and focus group interviews were conducted to collect data from participants. Students strongly indicated that the program was an important bridge between their undergraduate and graduate careers and that important knowledge, skills, and interests were developed as a result. One of the main self-perceived deficiencies of students entering the program was technical communication, and gains were achieved in this area by structuring biweekly program-wide meetings around developing relevant skills. We found that one of the key indicators of a successful summer research experience is early contact between the student and the faculty mentor and/or graduate student mentor prior to the start of the research experience, and regular contact thereafter. We also determined that for purposes of engagement, it is important to provide hands-on activities from the beginning (in parallel with research training that supports the later phases of the summer project), even if these hands-on activities do not bear directly on the longer-term research goals. Finally, we found that exposure to professional development activities involving industry and technology transfer themes resulted in increased self-efficacy related to the ability to innovate in students’ chosen field. A mixture of quantitative and qualitative survey results are presented to support these findings.
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