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Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research Through Projects From Concept To Completion

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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

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Shahnam Mirzaei California State University, Northridge

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Dr. Shahnam Mirzaei is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the California State University, Northridge. He has received his Ph.D. from University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in the area of Electrical and Computer Engineering at 2010, His M.Sc. from California State University, Northridge, and his B.Sc. from University of Tehran. Dr. Mirzaei has worked as an application engineer for six years from 2000 to 2005 with focus on problem solving and resolving design issues with regards to Xilinx FPGAs and SoCs. After receiving his Ph.D., he has worked as an R&D engineer in the area of signal processing for three years from 2010 to 2013.
Dr. Mirzaei started his academic job as an assistant professor at California State University, Northridge at 2013. His research interests fall into the realm of reconfigurable hardware, signal and image processing, and embedded systems. In recent years, he has focused on developing techniques for hardware acceleration of software algorithms and implementing signal processing applications on on reconfigurable hardware. Dr. Mirzaei has been the recipient of Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Fellowship Award in Spring 2010 from University of California, Santa Barbara, Radar Systems Spot Award Achievement Certificate in recognition of superior individual effort for developing signal processing algorithms, in February 2011 from Exelis (currently known as Harris Corp.), Inc. and 59th Annual National Engineers Outstanding Engineering Achievement Merit Award in Universal City, California in February 2014. He has collaborated actively with researchers in several other disciplines of, particularly computer architecture, reconfigurable hardware, and signal and image processing. He has been a member of Technical Program Committee for International Conference on ReConFigurable Computing and FPGAs in 2013 and IEEE Journal of Transactions on VLSI Systems in 2016.

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Ana Cristina Cadavid California State University Northridge

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Vicki A Pedone California State University Northridge

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Werner Horn

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Harvey Rich

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Retention is a major problem for engineering majors, including Electrical and Computer Engineering students. Multiple factors contribute to retention issues, such as poor teaching and advising, the difficulty of the engineering curriculum, and lack of motivation resulting from poor connections to the engineering community. Statistics indicate a large drop in the continuation rate between the first and third years among Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) students. As students encounter increasing course difficulty in the early stages of their programs, they often lack motivation to persist because they have weak connections to their majors and potential careers in STEM. The Summer Interdisciplinary Team Experience (SITE), part of the National Science Foundation Science Talent Expansion Program aimed at increasing the number of bachelor degrees awarded in STEM fields, focused on students finishing sophomore-level courses in engineering, math, and physical sciences. The primary goal of SITE was to create a STEM community through participation in small research projects that students worked collaboratively on from concept to conclusion. In this 3-week summer program, students in interdisciplinary teams of ten worked closely with faculty mentors to develop solutions to socially relevant STEM problems. The projects emphasized hands-on activities and interdisciplinary team-based learning and decision making in order to keep students motivated and interested throughout the project. Faculty mentors first introduced the team to the project concept, then helped them develop the skills and knowledge needed to implement solutions. At the end of the 3-week period, each team made a formal presentation that discussed goals, methodologies, challenges and results. The presentations were accompanied by a live demonstration of the final product. Qualitative assessment based on participants’ answers to exit questionnaires show that the program accomplished its goal to increase motivation to complete the STEM major. Although our program was not limited to Under Represented Minority (URM) students, the participation of URM students far exceeds their representations in most of the participating STEM majors. Survey results show that participation in SITE was particularly beneficial for URM students.

Mirzaei, S., & Cadavid, A. C., & Pedone, V. A., & Horn, W., & Rich, H. (2018, June), Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research Through Projects From Concept To Completion Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30201

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