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Dissolving Interdisciplinary Barriers in STEM Curriculum Through Unconventional Hydrofoil Boat Educational Lab at the College Undergraduate Level

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

AERO 5: Student Success

Tagged Division

Aerospace Division (AERO)

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Paper Authors


Kristi J. Shryock Texas A&M University

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Kristi J. Shryock, Ph.D., is the Frank and Jean Raymond Foundation Inc. Endowed Associate Professor in Multidisciplinary Engineering and Affiliated Faculty in Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University. She also serves as Director of the Novel Unconventional Aerospace Applications iN Core Educational Disciplines (NUA2NCED) Lab and of the Craig and Galen Brown Engineering Honors Program and National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program. She has made extensive contributions to the methodology of forming the engineer of the future through her work in creating strategies to recruit, retain, and graduate engineering students. The network of transformational strategies she has developed addresses informing early, preparation for
success, increasing diversity of the field, establishing strong identity as an engineer, and enhancing critical thinking and professional skills.

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Zachary Reinert Texas A&M University

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Zachary Reinert is a senior aerospace engineering major at Texas A&M University minoring in mathematics and business. He is currently an undergraduate research assistant at Texas A&M University’s NUA2NCED Laboratory. His research focuses on hydrofoil boat design and developing unconventional educational applications for STEM students. Zach’s aerospace passions include logistic support, system integration, and aerospace business development. He has applied these interests as a ConOps Development intern with Fulcrum Engineering, LLC as well as a Integrated Logistics Support Management intern with Lockheed Martin.

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As educational programs for engineering continue to grow in popularity among schools and universities, the corresponding curriculum that gets delivered to students has become increasingly compartmentalized to each specific discipline. This shift has occurred naturally as educational departments desire to highlight direct applicability of their education to their department label. However, much of the knowledge and many of the skills obtained in individual fields of STEM can be applied to various other STEM fields. Yet, preconceived barriers between each discipline often create mental gaps in the minds of students that render their abilities to think of their education’s applicability outside of the department they are enrolled in. [X] University’s aerospace engineering department has recognized this issue and created the [XX] Laboratory to help bridge these gaps in students’ minds and increase the scope of their education beyond standard aerospace applications. To create novel aerospace educational activities that accomplish this goal, the [XX] Laboratory has created an interactive aerodynamics lab using a customly-designed RC hydrofoil boat. This educational lab blends the aerospace engineering principles of vehicle dynamics with an aquatic domain. Students are presented with a lab manual outlining the background, objectives, problem scenario, and procedures of the lab as well as accompanying pre- and post-surveys that capture the students’ outlooks on various STEM discipline applicability. Students complete the pre-survey, perform the lab, then complete the post survey. The shift in the pre- and post-survey data captures the effectiveness of the lab’s ability to dissolve the interdisciplinary barriers between various STEM fields. The authors hypothesize that students who conduct this unconventional aerospace lab will experience an expansion in their outlook on various STEM fields’ applicability. This study has been previously conducted on a sample pool of students at [X] University to gather preliminary data and feedback. This study will focus on the scaling of the implementation of the revised hydrofoil boat educational lab to AERO [XXX] students at [X] University. Specifically, the AERO [XXX] course teaches basic introductory principles of aerospace engineering. It is expected that these students will better recognize the interdisciplinary applicability of their educational as well as other fields of STEM after completing this unconventional aerospace lab.

Shryock, K. J., & Reinert, Z. (2023, June), Dissolving Interdisciplinary Barriers in STEM Curriculum Through Unconventional Hydrofoil Boat Educational Lab at the College Undergraduate Level Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--43182

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