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Community Building for the NSF PFE: RIEF Program: Year 2

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

5

DOI

10.18260/1-2--36815

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36815

Download Count

28

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Paper Authors

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Karin Jensen University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9456-5042

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Karin Jensen, Ph.D. is a Teaching Assistant Professor in bioengineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include student mental health and wellness, engineering student career pathways, and engagement of engineering faculty in engineering education research. She was awarded a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for her research on undergraduate mental health in engineering programs. Before joining UIUC she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Sanofi Oncology in Cambridge, MA. She earned a bachelor's degree in biological engineering from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia.

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Kelly J. Cross University of Nevada, Reno

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Dr. Cross is currently an Assistant Professor in the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department at the University Nevada Reno. After completing her PhD in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech in 2015, Dr. Cross worked as a post-doctoral researcher with the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education and in the Department of Bioengineering with the Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) grant at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Cross' scholarship investigated student teams in engineering, faculty communities of practice, and the intersectionality of multiple identity dimensions. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion in STEM, intersectionality, teamwork and communication skills, assessment, and identity construction. Her teaching philosophy focuses on student centered approaches such as culturally relevant pedagogy. Dr. Cross' complimentary professional activities promote inclusive excellence through collaboration.

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Joseph Francis Mirabelli University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Joseph Mirabelli is an Educational Psychology graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a focus in Engineering Education. His interests are centered around mentorship, mental health, and retention in STEM students and faculty. He was awarded the 2019 NAGAP Graduate Education Gold Research Grant award to study engineering faculty perceptions of graduate student well-being and attrition. Before studying education at UIUC, Joseph earned an MS degree in Physics from Indiana University in Bloomington and a BS in Engineering Physics at UIUC.

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Mia Ko University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

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Mia is a 4th year undergraduate student studying Bioengineering with a minor in Material Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. On campus, she actively participates as an Engineering Ambassador: encouraging younger students’ interest in STEM related fields while changing the definition and conversation of what it means to be an engineer. Her research interests include motivation and STEM curriculum development and evaluation. She is very excited to be a part of this community and hopes to spark the interest of engineering education research within her peer groups and to return to education after industry experience.

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Jeanne L. Sanders University of Nevada, Reno Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8865-5444

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Jeanne Sanders (she/her/hers) is a postdoctoral researcher in Engineering Education at the University of Nevada, Reno. She graduated with her Ph.D from North Carolina State University in the Fall of 2020. She plans to pursue a career in academia in the future supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels. Her research interests include raising awareness for and supporting students, faculty, and staff with gender-expansive, romantic, and sexual minority identities.

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Abstract

In an effort to support research in professional engineering formation and expand the community of researchers in engineering education, the NSF has supported teams of engineering faculty and engineering education mentors through the NSF Research Initiation in Engineering Formation (RIEF) program. The RIEF program offers two years of funding for research projects conducted by engineering faculty new to the field of engineering education research who are trained in education methods by an experienced mentor. Since 2016, the PFE: RIEF program has supported more than 45 projects across over 45 institutions. The project seeks to understand best practices of mentor-mentee relationships between engineering education researchers and engineering faculty entering the engineering education research field. This exploratory, phenomenologically informed [1], qualitative study was guided with Cognitive Apprentice Model (CAM) framework [2]. Participating in the RIEF program raised questions for the authors and suggested multiple challenges for program participants. Our results suggest identifying a mentor as a critical challenge for both past program participants and those interested in applying to the program. This is a particularly untenable challenge for faculty who are located at institutions that do not have researchers with expertise in education research methods. Additional challenges cited to enter the engineering education field included lack of student programs, working with mentors who are located at different institutions, balancing engineering education research with other faculty roles, and navigating power dynamics. To address this need, in this paper we describe our networking events for RIEF program participants and for potential program participants to connect with mentors in engineering education. The networking events are designed to reduce these barriers to entry into engineering education research by facilitating mentor-mentee introductions and providing time and resources to discuss power dynamics as well as balancing new research projects. The networking events will seek to match interested participants to facilitate future application to the NSF RIEF program. The networking events will be held as part of the regional and national American Society for Engineering Education conferences. Participants will be asked to complete informational introduction mini-posters to be shared with the groups to promote establishing collaborations between researchers with shared interests and synergistic strengths. The networking event will include a presentation leveraging findings from the research component of the project to recommend best mentorship practices to attendees and to advise them about unexpected barriers reported by study participants. In addition to the networking events, through the project we have also developed a website with curated resources for researchers entering the field of engineering education research. Plans for the networking events will be shared along with feedback from past participants. Ultimately, the project seeks to develop a framework for an effective community for engineering faculty to develop and sustain engagement in engineering education research that will expand beyond the NSF PFE: RIEF program.

Jensen, K., & Cross, K. J., & Mirabelli, J. F., & Ko, M., & Sanders, J. L. (2021, July), Community Building for the NSF PFE: RIEF Program: Year 2 Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36815

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: © 2021 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