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Board 301: Growing Entrepreneurially Minded Researchers with New Product Development in Applied Energy: NSF REU Comparison of Traditional Delivery vs. Virtual

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Lisa Bosman Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Bosman holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering. Her engineering education research interests include entrepreneurially minded learning, energy education, interdisciplinary education, and faculty professional development.

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Jason Ostanek Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Jason Ostanek is Assistant Professor at Purdue University in the School of Engineering Technology (SOET). Dr. Ostanek leads the Applied Thermofluids Lab, which focuses on experimental and computational research in thermal-fluid sciences. His lab con

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Esteban Soto Vera

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In industry, new product development, marketing research, and project management tend to work differently than in academia; quite frankly, academia is hardly at all concerned with any of these things. CEOs, project managers, and design leads are less concerned with how new theories or data analysis techniques can be applied and where good ideas come from, and instead are more concerned with their effective implementation and cost benefits. This means that the successful discovery, evaluation, and exploitation of opportunities in industrial settings require a more collaborative and convergent approach to research and development than in academia. Specifically, research and development in industry ought to include input from people with various engineering, marketing, and management backgrounds.

In summary, the traditional academic approach to research (where faculty drive the research efforts in an attempt to optimize individual output) is different from the industry approach to research (where the research efforts are done in an attempt to optimize a company’s value). A problem exists in that engineering students, who are mentored by academics, have limited exposure to the convergent-like research that is often required of employees working in industry. Given the ever-present disproportional participation of women and minoritized populations in engineering, this problem only exacerbates and further excludes broader participation to a diverse audience of students.

Online education has increased significantly in recent years, providing more opportunities for broader participation of students in convergent-like research programs. This poster will showcase the findings, and compare and contrast results across two REU programs. Both programs provided the same content, however, the delivery and format differed. The first REU program was delivered virtually and part-time (10 hours per week) during the 10-month academic school year. The second REU program was delivered using the traditional approach (in-person and full-time during the 10-week summer). From a content perspective, both REU programs provided students with a research experience that combines the best aspects of academic applied research (including theoretical basis and rigorous scholarship) with essential and validated business practices (including real-world customer discovery and the generation of sound business models).

One of the main benefits of REU programs is the impact on students' decision to pursue a graduate degree and pursue a career in academia or scientific research. Additionally, REU programs have benefits related to retention, research skills, teamwork, and oral and written communication skills, all of which will benefit students even if they decided to go to industry instead of pursuing grad school. As such, the guiding research question is as follows: How do perceived learning gains compare across a traditional REU (in-person, 10 weeks over summer, full-time) versus an REU delivered virtually, part-time, and over 10 months?

Bosman, L., & Ostanek, J., & Soto Vera, E. (2023, June), Board 301: Growing Entrepreneurially Minded Researchers with New Product Development in Applied Energy: NSF REU Comparison of Traditional Delivery vs. Virtual Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--42835

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