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Changing the Manufacturing Perception of Millennial and Generation Z Engineering Students

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Manufacturing Division Technical Session 3

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Paul C. Lynch Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

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Paul C. Lynch received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in Industrial Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Lynch is a member of AFS, SME, IIE, and ASEE. Dr. Lynch’s primary research interests are in metal casting, manufacturing systems, and engineering education. Dr. Lynch has been recognized by Alpha Pi Mu, IIE, and the Pennsylvania State University for his scholarship, teaching, and advising. He received the Outstanding Industrial Engineering Faculty Award in 2011, 2013, and 2015, the Penn State Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Alumni Faculty Appreciation Award in 2013, and the Outstanding Advising Award in the College of Engineering in 2014 for his work in undergraduate education at Penn State. Dr. Lynch worked as a regional production engineer for Universal Forest Products prior to pursuing his graduate degrees. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering in the School of Engineering at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.

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Joseph Wilck College of William & Mary

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Dr. Joe Wilck is a Faculty Director of Business Analytics and Clinical Associate Professor of Business Analytics at the College of William & Mary. He is a registered Professional Engineer. He is a volunteer leader with the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He is also an active member of INFORMS, MORS, INCOSE, ASEM, and TRB. His research is in the areas of applied optimization and STEM education, and he has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, DARPA, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation; among others. He primarily teaches courses in analytics, operations research, supply chain, operations management, and logistics.

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Elizabeth Gaughan Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

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Elizabeth is from Greensburg, PA in Westmoreland County. She graduated from Hempfield Area High School in 2002. Elizabeth graduated with honors from Seton Hill University with B.F.A. degree in Graphic Design in 2008. She is currently a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Penn State Behrend.

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Over five years of work in an industrial engineering manufacturing process course has been carried out to understand engineering undergraduate student perceptions of manufacturing in the United States. This paper discusses a holistic approach being taken in an industrial engineering program to understand Millennial and Generation Z student manufacturing perception while working to get students interested in manufacturing careers through coursework, internships, and co-op experiences. The generation divisions are often argued about, but Millennials are generally thought of as being born from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s with Generation Z following. Millennials can be defined as those born from 1981 to 1996, with Generation Z following from 1997 on. The results of over five years of questionnaire data shows that a well-designed manufacturing processes course equipped with hands-on labs, plant visits, and manufacturing job fairs can be effective in changing student’s perception of manufacturing. It is also shown that campus location may play a key part in industrial engineering student knowledge of manufacturing and the percentage of students completing internships and co-ops in manufacturing. Data was collected across two campuses within the same U.S. University where both campuses offer B.S. degrees in Industrial Engineering. The enrollment at the two campuses and manufacturing footprint around the two campuses are significantly different and this is discussed with the results of the survey data.

Lynch, P. C., & Wilck, J., & Gaughan, E. (2019, June), Changing the Manufacturing Perception of Millennial and Generation Z Engineering Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32503

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