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Building An Engineer Through A Work Based Education Program

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

EM Skills and Real-World Concepts, Pt. 2

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.272.1 - 9.272.11

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Paper Authors

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LTC Robert Powell

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

BUILDING AN ENGINEER THROUGH A WORK-BASED EDUCATION PROGRAM LTC Robert A. Powell, Ph.D. Department of Systems Engineering, United States Military Academy West Point, New York

Abstract – Every fall, most academic departments at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York begin developing summer internships for cadets, which enable them to bridge the intellectual or cognitive gap between school and work. These opportunities are reserved for emerging junior and senior cadets who are otherwise not conducting military training during the summer. In the Department of Systems Engineering, we establish many opportunities with government and non-government affiliated agencies to help organizations solve Systems Engineering, Engineering Management, Operations Research and Information Systems Engineering related problems. This program is entitled “Academic Individual Advanced Development” (AIAD) and is vital to the educational development of cadets and provides them with an opportunity to participate in activities beyond our baseline requirements. These AIAD opportunities are designed to allow students to work with military and civilian organizations for a three-to-four week period and discover the “real world” applicability of their academic endeavors here at West Point.

These experiences broaden student perspectives; provide them with practical advanced education related to their professional responsibilities as student leaders and future commissioned officers. Participating agencies gain by having additional personnel to work on engineering projects, and by having the opportunity to expose future Army leaders to the important functions performed by their organization. Some AIAD opportunities extend beyond the summer into the academic year as CAPSTONE projects. These projects continue to allow a cadet the opportunity to discover the “real world” applicability of their academic endeavors.

This paper explores the uniqueness and nature of our program, its purpose, our process for matching skills with a participating agency and follow-up feedback from cadets. This feedback is used to assess the viability of the program for future students and participating agencies. This paper provides practical guidelines for implementing such a program in any engineering curriculum to enhance a student’s engineering education and learning.


Global economic competitiveness is built upon the foundation of an educated and skilled workforce. In the early 1980s, reformers became increasingly preoccupied with the effects of inadequate education of U.S. workers on the nation’s economy. This development coincided with increasingly competitive economic challenges from Japan, Germany, and other European countries. Reformers reviewed the education system of America’s competitors and found that in

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition. Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering”

Powell, L. R. (2004, June), Building An Engineer Through A Work Based Education Program Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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: © 2004 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