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Enhancing the STEM Curriculum Through a Multidisciplinary Approach that Integrates Biology and Engineering

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.528.1 - 24.528.14



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Paper Authors


Jennifer Vernengo Rowan University

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Jennifer Vernengo is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University. Jennifer re- ceived her Ph.D. from Drexel University in 2007. She began work as a materials scientist at Synthes Bio- materials, then joined Drexel University College of Medicine as postdoc in 2009. Jennifer two published research papers and one patent in the area of injectable biomaterials for orthopedic tissue replacement and repair. She is particularly interested in developing innovative approaches to biomedical engineering education.

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Stephanie Farrell Rowan University

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Dr. Stephanie Farrell is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University (USA). She obtained her PhD in Chemical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1996. Prior to joining the faculty at Rowan in 1998, she was an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Louisiana Tech University until 1998. Dr. Farrell has made contributions to engineering education through her work in experiential learning, focusing on areas of pharmaceutical, biomedical and food engineering. She has been honored by the American Society of Engineering Education with several teaching awards such as the 2004 National Outstanding Teaching Medal and the 2005 Quinn Award for experiential learning.

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Jennifer Kadlowec Rowan University


Johannes Strobel Texas A&M University

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Dr. Johannes Strobel is Director, Educational Outreach Programs and Associate Professor, Engineering and Education at Texas A&M. After studying philosophy and information science at three universities in Germany, he received his M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He worked at Concordia University, Montreal and has been the director of the Institute of P-12 Engineering Research and Learning at Purdue University. NSF and several private foundations fund his research. His research and teaching focuses on engineering as an innovation in P-12 education, policy of P-12 engineering, how to support teachers and students' academic achievements through engineering, the measurement and support of the change of 'engineering habits of mind' particularly empathy and the use of cyber-infrastructure to sensitively and resourcefully provide access to and support learning.

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Proposed abstract for NSF grantees poster sessionEnhancing the STEM Curriculum Through a Multidisciplinary Approach that IntegratesBiology and EngineeringDue to the increasing prevalence of cardiovascular and orthopedic disorders in today’s modernsociety, there is a necessity to engineer biomaterials that improve the quality of life for peoplewith painful and debilitating diseases. This will require educational institutions to providespecialized instruction in these areas. Yet, there have been relatively few published reports onbiomaterials and tissue engineering- related lab activities, and existing activities lack afoundation in materials science. A primary deliverable of this project is to address this need andthus strengthen science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education by developinginteractive experiments that introduce tissue engineering through a biomaterials designperspective, emphasizing mechanics, cell behavior, and drug delivery. Cutting-edge methods inthese fields have been adapted so they can be applied starting at the freshman level throughupper level electives in chemical, mechanical, or biomedical engineering and cellular/molecularbiology.This paper describes experimental designs to engage students in the guided discovery of polymerscience and its application to the i) characterization of polymers for meniscus replacement, ii)study of cell-biomaterial interactions in tissue engineering scaffolds, and iii) design of magneticstimuli-responsive hydrogels for pulsatile drug delivery. The modules will be integrated atvarious levels throughout XXXX’s engineering curriculum. The anticipated results of theproject will be i) the implementation of curricular materials that fulfill a need in STEMeducation, ii) increased student interest in pursuing undergraduate and graduate study in STEMdisciplines, iii) higher student retention in science and engineering majors, iv) and thedevelopment of a well-rounded workforce of engineers prepared to find multidisciplinaryengineering solutions to the growing health care needs of the world.  

Vernengo, J., & Farrell, S., & Kadlowec, J., & Strobel, J. (2014, June), Enhancing the STEM Curriculum Through a Multidisciplinary Approach that Integrates Biology and Engineering Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20420

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