Asee peer logo

Board 59: Investigation of Factors Promoting Competitive Candidates for Entry-level Bioengineering Positions

Download Paper |


2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

College-Industry Partnerships Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Marcia Pool University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

visit author page

Dr. Marcia Pool is a Teaching Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs in Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her career, Marcia has been active in improving undergraduate education through developing problem-based laboratories to enhance experimental design skills; developing a preliminary design course focused on problem identification and market space (based on an industry partner’s protocol); and mentoring and guiding student teams through the senior design capstone course and a translational course following senior design. To promote biomedical/bioengineering, Marcia works with Women in Engineering to offer outreach activities and served at the national level as Executive Director of the biomedical engineering honor society, Alpha Eta Mu Beta, from 2011-2017.

visit author page


Madeline R. Darling University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

visit author page

Maddie is an Undergraduate Programs Coordinator for the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She holds a M.S. in College Student Affairs from Eastern Illinois University (2016). Her research interests include student academic success, retention, first-generation students, and student/advisor interactions within academic and career advising sessions.

visit author page


Gabriella Rose Dupont University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

visit author page

I am a MEng student in Bioengineering, with a BS, Bioengineering, both from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I am interested in biomechanics and how curriculum structure affects education outcomes.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Well-established fields of engineering (e.g. electrical engineering) typically support curriculums that cover the same foundational topics, regardless of offering institution. Identifying these key foundational areas in a field and integrating them into multiple institutions’ curriculums ensures students have been exposed to consistent concepts and may be evaluated with standardized exams such as the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE). Additionally, hiring managers can expect a student with a degree in the established fields can perform well in key foundational areas. However, biomedical (BME) or bioengineering (BIOE) programs span a wide array of material; some programs focus on biological aspects (e.g., tissue engineering) while other programs focus on applying traditional engineering to living systems (e.g. medical device development) [1]. Lack of standardization amongst biomedical and bioengineering curriculums creates a lack of transparency in the hiring process, as differing institutions’ biomedical or bioengineering degree programs may not teach the same competencies and skills to their graduates.

At our institution, the bioengineering curriculum offers five specialized track areas: biomechanics, cell and tissue engineering, therapeutics engineering, computational and systems biology, and imaging and sensing. Each track consists of fifteen engineering credit hours of track focused coursework. Post-graduation, students are divided amongst career pursuits; averaged self-reported student data from 2008-2015 indicates students’ career path as industry (48%), graduate school (23%), medical school (19%), and other (10%). While we know students’ first post-graduate destination, we now seek to identify (1) is there a correlation between students’ selected track and internship or co-op opportunities, (2) is there a correlation between track choice and students first destination post-graduation, (3) does undergraduate research experience influence competitiveness for entry-level BME/BIOE jobs, and (4) does possessing internship or co-op experience negate any difference (if it exists) in preparation due to specified track.

Alumni data will be analyzed to identify factors affecting career placement. Current students will be tracked through mandatory advising sessions each semester to identify interest in industry positions as well as co-curricular experiences contributing to increased competitiveness for industry. Results from this study will serve as an advising tool for students in our department, as well as inform the BME/BIOE field of key foundational skills expected of industry bound BME/BIOE students.

[1] D. W. Gatchell and R. A. Linsenmeier. “Similarities and Differences in Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Curricula in the United States,” in American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference, Indianapolis, IN 2014.

Pool, M., & Darling, M. R., & Dupont, G. R. (2018, June), Board 59: Investigation of Factors Promoting Competitive Candidates for Entry-level Bioengineering Positions Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30065

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015