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Expanding Institutional Bonds for Teaming Up Students for the Creation of Environmental Research Projects

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Sustainability and Hands-on Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.712.1 - 26.712.20



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Paper Authors


Monica Palomo P.E. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Mónica Palomo, California State Polytechnic University
Dr. Palomo is currently an Associate Professor of the Civil Engineering Department in the College of Engineering at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona). In this position, Dr. Palomo is responsible for teaching courses such as Introduction to Civil Engineering; Hydraulics; Water and Wastewater Treatment; Groundwater Mechanics; Research Experience of Undergraduate Students; and Engineering Outreach Service Learning courses, among others. She is also a faculty advisor for the California Water Environment Association (CWEA), Engineers Without Boarders (EWB), and Society of Hispanic Professionals Engineers (SHPE) student chapters. Additionally, Dr. Palomo is the CE Water Analysis laboratory director and coordinates all teaching, research and safety training activities in the engineering laboratory. Dr. Palomo conducts research in surface water quality improvement via natural treatment systems, water and wastewater treatment processes, and water education. She is involved in outreach programs for K-12 students to increase the participation of Hispanic female students in STEM fields.

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Jeffrey Alan Cole Pasadena City College

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Dr. Cole is an Instructor in the Biology Department of the School of Science and Math at Pasadena City College (PCC). Dr. Cole most frequently teaches Animal Biology for non-majors, and Diversity of Life on Earth, the organismal biology course in the biology majors’ series. Dr. Cole conducts research at California State University Northridge and at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County as a Research Associate. His research projects investigate speciation, evolution of behavior, and discovery of biodiversity of insects. He is currently working with students on several molecular phylogenetic research projects. Dr. Cole is an advisor for the PCC Biology Club, which offers programs to students that highlight a diversity of careers in biology, gives students a chance to interact with scientists and professionals, and involves students in the community by performing outreach at local elementary schools.

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Expanding institutional bonds to team up students for the creation of research environmental projectsThe purpose of the project is the bridging of CPP Civil/Environmental Engineering students andPCC Science students to enhance the curriculum at both institutions. In addition the project seeksto enhance the retention of both CPP and PCC of students, facilitating PCC student transfer toCPP; and promoting graduate school and lifelong learning in a multidisciplinary and diverseenvironment.The project combines the training of CPP undergraduate students (without previous researchexperience) and their partnership with PCC students to develop multidisciplinary teams toworked on the design of natural treatment systems to remediate contaminated surface waterstreams. CPP engineering students were trained on how to conduct research and partnered withPCC students. Students from both institutions were mentored by CPP and PCC faculty whileconducting research. In addition, each institution had a senior student mentors assigned to thestudent groups to enhance peer-learning process. Student mentors provided support to peerstudents while conducting experimental work in the lab, with data analysis and while preparingposters and required research reports.To develop the research experience two courses were offered concurrently one at CPP and theother at PCC. Faculty in both institutions worked on developing student interaction throughfieldtrips and social media. The project platform allows sustained collaboration, amongengineers and non-engineering students and faculty via a novel approach. This study usesundergraduate research activities to create bonds between the two institutions while fulfillingcurricular requirements.

Palomo, M., & Cole, J. A. (2015, June), Expanding Institutional Bonds for Teaming Up Students for the Creation of Environmental Research Projects Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24049

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