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Early Career Bioengineering Research Experience For Undergraduates

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Experiential Learning in BME

Tagged Division

Biomedical

Page Count

8

Page Numbers

15.433.1 - 15.433.8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/16285

Download Count

27

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Paper Authors

biography

Rebecca Willits Saint Louis University

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Rebecca Kuntz Willits is an associate professor of Biomedical Engineering at Saint Louis
University and has developed courses in Transport Phenomena, Biotransport, Drug Delivery,
Tissue Engineering, and Design of Laboratory Experiments. She was the 2009 Director of BE@SLU, an NSF-sponsored REU in Bioengineering.

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biography

David Barnett Saint Louis University

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David Barnett is the Chairperson of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Saint Louis University, as well as the Director of the 2010 BE@SLU program.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Early Career Bioengineering Research Experience for Undergraduates

Overview

Research experiences for undergraduates are considered beneficial to recruit and retain interested and high performing students in engineering and science1. Yet, many programs designated as “Research Experience for Undergraduates” are directed at students entering their senior year, although it has been suggested that the experience begin earlier2. We designed and initiated a REU program that targets students in the early stages of their undergraduate career, specifically, those completing their first year in college. The goal of Bioengineering at Saint Louis University (BE@SLU) is to provide early undergraduate students (students entering their first or second years) with real examples of bioengineering career options (both research and industry) to sustain their interest in engineering through their early curricula. By exposing students to a bioengineering research experience after their freshman year, the students may be better able to recognize their academic interests and may have a better idea of their career options in engineering. The program is structured to accommodate these early career students, with peer mentoring, career discussions, and research training embedded into the program. The first week of the program, “Training Week” not only covers basic laboratory technique, but we also have a journal club (or how to find and read a research article), discussions on laboratory etiquette and research ethics. Participants were then integrated into their research mentors laboratory, and spent eight weeks on a research project. The program has two Peer Mentors, who are undergraduates with research experience, that live with the students and participate in the research project. The mentors are also responsible for additional social and academic activities during nights and weekends. This paper describes the program, evaluations and critiques from the first year (from both research mentors and participants), as well as the challenges and opportunities the program presents to future “Research Experience for Undergraduates” programs. Surveys will continue for those students who have already completed the program, to track their interest level and possible influence the program had on their interests.

Introduction

Saint Louis University (SLU) started a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program in Bioengineering with a consortium of faculty in the Departments of Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering, Psychology, and Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the goal of the program is to provide early undergraduate students (entering first- and second- year students) with real examples of bioengineering career options (both research and industry) to sustain their interest in engineering through their early curricula. Bioengineering at Saint Louis University (BE@SLU) began with Training Week, which spans topics in from cell and tissue culture to laboratory etiquette to reading journal articles. After Training Week, students work in the laboratories of their selected research mentors to complete an 8-week research project. As the students are early in their career (students entering their first or second years), the program also has a Peer Mentor system, where undergraduates experienced in research are integrated into the

Willits, R., & Barnett, D. (2010, June), Early Career Bioengineering Research Experience For Undergraduates Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16285

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