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Engaging Undergraduate Students in Hands-on Research Using Undergraduate-specific Small Internal Grants from the University

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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

Maker Communities and Authentic Problem Solving

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Muhammad Pervej Jahan Miami University

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Dr. Muhammad Jahan is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Miami University. His research interests include advanced manufacturing, lean manufacturing, micro- and nano-machining, SPM-based lithography and materials. Prior to joining at Miami, he worked as Assistant Professor at Western Kentucky University and as Research Associate at the Institute for Nanoscience and Engineering at University of Arkansas. He received his BS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and National University of Singapore respectively. He has published more than 60 papers in refereed journals and international conferences and contributed to books, and been involved in several internal and external funded research projects in these areas. He has received numerous research awards including 'Best Paper Award - ICAMT 2016', 'Best Paper Award - ATMAE 2014', ‘Outstanding Paper Award – NAMRC 2012,’ ‘A.M. Stickland Best Paper Award – IMechE, 2010,’ and ‘Most Downloaded Paper – Elsevier, 2010.’

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Shahnaz J. Aly Western Kentucky University

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Shahnaz Aly, OAA, LEED AP, M. Arch, is a licensed Architect in India and Canada and Associate Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Western Kentucky University. She has 10 years professional experience in the architecture and construction industry in residential, commercial and mixed-use projects. She has 8 years of experience in teaching and research in areas of architectural design, sustainable design, historic preservation and BIM.

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Engaging in hands-on research relevant to the field of study is an effective way to impact the learning experience of undergraduate students. Nowadays, most of the universities have developed strategies for enhancing the undergraduate students’ involvement in research. The present study aims to report last five year’s experiences of both authors in engaging the undergraduate students in field-specific hands-on research by utilizing small internal grants designed for undergraduate research. This study also aims to focus on how engaging in hands-on research impacted the students’ learning experiences, their professional development and even their academic results and achievements. In teaching focused universities, the opportunities for undergraduate students to get involved in externally funded research are limited. However, a small grant from the universities can support involvement of both undergraduate and faculty in research activities. In the last five years, the authors have supervised more than 10 undergraduate students in the areas of architecture and manufacturing. It has been observed that engaging students in the hands-on research can greatly improve students’ critical thinking. Participation in research enhances student’s presentation skills by allowing them opportunities for presenting their research at regional and national conferences, as well as provides them information on the recent developments in areas of their field of study. It was also observed that students who were engaged in research with faculty often were more successful than their peers in getting job offers or admission to graduate schools of their choice. This study will discuss the university strategies and specific strategies taken by both authors to involve and enhance undergraduate students’ participation in hands-on research in the areas of architecture and manufacturing. The study will also provide brief descriptions of each project including student learning outcomes and research outcomes from the project. This study aims to discuss students’ professional development by comparing the students’ academic achievements and professional development before and after engaging in faculty-led research projects. Finally, a section discussing possible strategies that could be taken for enhancing the participation in undergraduate research at teaching focused universities will be included.

Jahan, M. P., & Aly, S. J. (2018, June), Engaging Undergraduate Students in Hands-on Research Using Undergraduate-specific Small Internal Grants from the University Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30400

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