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Board 132: Impact of a Research Experience Program in Aerospace Engineering on Undergraduate Students: Year Two

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Jacques C. Richard Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Richard got his Ph. D. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1989 & a B. S. at Boston University, 1984. He was at NASA Glenn, 1989-1995, worked at Argonne National Lab, 1996-1997, taught at Chicago State University, 1997-2002. Dr. Richard is a Sr. Lecturer & Research Associate in Aerospace Engineering @ Texas A&M since 1/03. His research is focused on computational plasma modeling using spectral and lattice Boltzmann methods for studying plasma turbulence and plasma jets. His research has also included fluid physics and electric propulsion using Lattice-Boltzmann methods, spectral element methods, Weighted Essentially Non-Oscillatory (WENO), etc.
Past research includes modeling single and multi-species plasma flows through ion thruster optics and the discharge cathode assembly; computer simulations of blood flow interacting with blood vessels; modeling ocean-air interaction; reacting flow systems; modeling jet engine turbomachinery going unstable at NASA for 6 years (received NASA Performance Cash awards). Dr. Richard is involved in many outreach activities: e.g., tutoring, mentoring, directing related grants (for example, a grant for an NSF REU site). Dr, Richard is active in professional societies (American Physical Society (APS), American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), etc.), ASEE, ASME. Dr. Richard has authored or co-authored about 35 technical articles (about 30 of which are refereed publications). Dr. Richard teaches courses ranging from first-year introductory engineering design, fluid mechanics, to space plasma propulsion.

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So Yoon Yoon Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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So Yoon Yoon, Ph.D., is an associate research scientist at Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation (IEEI) in College of Engineering at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). She received a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with specialties in Gifted Education and a M.S.Ed. in Educational Psychology with specialties in Research Methods and Measurement both from Purdue University. She also holds a M.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics and a B.S. in Astronomy and Meteorology both from Kyungpook National University in South Korea. Her work centers on engineering education research, as a psychometrician, program evaluator, and institutional data analyst. She has research interests on spatial ability, creativity, gifted education, STEM education, and meta-analyses. She has authored/co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings and served as a journal reviewer in engineering education, STEM education, and educational psychology, as well as a co-PI, an external evaluator or advisory board member on several NSF-funded projects (CAREER, iCorps, REU, RIEF, etc.).

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This study attempted to explore the impact of a research experience for undergraduate (REU) program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in aerospace engineering at a southwestern public research university. A total of 25 students who are citizens or permanent residents were selected across the United States and participated in the REU program for 10 weeks during the summer in 2017 or 2018.

Each student joined a research group of a faculty mentor in the Aerospace Engineering department and participated in common activities with other undergraduate research programs at the university, such as workshops, tours, social (picnics, barbecues, attending sporting events, and participating in recreational activities). The students shared the same housing arrangements and events to assist in all students having similar experiences, getting exposed to national and international undergraduate researchers, and for community-building. Students had opportunities to respond to the pre-post surveys on career decision making between graduate school and industry, research, and mentoring experiences at the university.

While 24 students responded to either pre- or post-surveys, this study utilized the data from 19 students who responded to both pre- and post-surveys (76% response rate) to present student changes in those areas as the impact of the research experiences at the university. Preliminary findings showed that most students came to favor graduate education and research, their preferences did not change at the end of the REU programs, as desired by the goals of the research experience programs. Students’ perceptions of research knowledge, skills, and engineering career path were all positively improved. Students expressed several areas of research skills that they were able to amass during the programs. While students ranked faculty as the most influential mentor, followed by Ph.D. students and peers, post-doctoral researchers and master’s students ranked the lowest. Content analyses of responses to open-ended questions are currently ongoing to explore further.

Richard, J. C., & Yoon, S. Y. (2019, June), Board 132: Impact of a Research Experience Program in Aerospace Engineering on Undergraduate Students: Year Two Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32238

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