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Development and Assessment of a Combined REU/RET Program in Materials Science

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Materials Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Materials

Page Count

10

DOI

10.18260/1-2--28154

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28154

Download Count

132

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Paper Authors

biography

Noah Salzman Boise State University

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Noah Salzman is an Assistant Professor at Boise State University, where he is a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and IDoTeach, a pre-service STEM teacher preparation program. His work focuses on the transition from pre-college to university engineering programs, how exposure to engineering prior to matriculation affects the experiences of engineering students, and engineering in the K-12 classroom. He has worked as a high school science, mathematics, and engineering and technology teacher, as well as several years of electrical and mechanical engineering design experience as a practicing engineer. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Swarthmore College, his Master's of Education degree from the University of Massachusetts, and a Master's of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Doctorate in Engineering Education from Purdue University.

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biography

Rick Ubic Boise State University

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Rick Ubic is an Associate Professor at Boise State University, where he is a member of the Micron School of Materials Science, Director of the Boise State Center for Materials Characterization, and Director if the REU Site in Materials for Energy & Sustainability. He was previously director of undergraduate recruitment for the Materials Department at Queen Mary, University of London for six years and coordinator for the Science and Engineering Foundation Program (SEFP) for three years. His research interests are in structure-property relationships in functional ceramics, hybrid photovoltaics, and the structural evolution of nuclear graphite. He earned both his Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Science & Engineering and Master's degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1993 and 1994, respectively; his PhD from Sheffield University in the UK in 1998; and a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice from Queen Mary, University of London in 2002. He currently serves as Editor in Chief of Materials Research Bulletin.

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Abstract

In this paper we present an evaluation and lessons learned from a joint Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program focused on energy and sustainability topics within a Materials Science and Engineering program at a public university. This program brought eleven undergraduate science and engineering students with diverse educational and institutional backgrounds and four local middle and high school teachers on campus for an 8-week research experience working in established lab groups at the university.

Using the Qualtrics online survey software, we conducted pre-experience and post-experience surveys of the participants to assess the effects of participating in this summer research program. At the beginning of the summer, all participants provided their definition of technical research and described what they hoped to get out of their research experience, and the undergraduate students described their future career and educational plans. At the conclusion of the summer, a post-experience survey presented participants’ with their answers from the beginning of the summer and asked them to reflect on how their understanding of research and future plans involving research changed over the course of the summer experience.

Many participants evolved a new understanding of research as a result of participating in the summer experience. In particular, they better recognized the collaborative nature of research and the challenges that can arise as part of the process of doing research. Participants acquired both technical and professional skills that they found useful, such as learning new programming languages, becoming proficient at using new pieces of equipment, reviewing technical literature, and improving presentation and communication skills. Undergraduates benefited from developing new relationships with their peers, while the teacher participants benefited from developing relationships with faculty and staff at the university. While most of the participants felt that they were better prepared for future studies or employment, they did not feel like the summer research experience had a significant impact on their future career or degree plans. Finally, while almost all of the participants described their summer research experience as positive, areas for improvement included better planning and access to mentors, as well as more structured activities for the teachers to adapt their research activities for the classroom.

Salzman, N., & Ubic, R. (2017, June), Development and Assessment of a Combined REU/RET Program in Materials Science Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28154

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