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Generating Enthusiasm For Research Through Automotive Projects And Industrial Mentors: Lessons Learned From The First Year Of An Reu Program

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Improving ME Education: Trends in Mechanical Engineering II

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

18

Page Numbers

12.780.1 - 12.780.18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2312

Download Count

24

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Paper Authors

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Laila Guessous Oakland University

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LAILA GUESSOUS (Guessous@oakland.edu) is an assistant professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University. She received her M.S. (1994) and Ph.D. (1999) from the University of Michigan and joined OU in August 2000. Her research and teaching interests lie in the areas of fluid mechanics and heat transfer, with an emphasis on computational methods. She is the program director for the NSF and DoD funded Automotive Research and Industrial Mentorship REU program.

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Qian Zou Oakland University

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QIAN ZOU (qzou@oakland.edu) is an assistant professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University. Her research and teaching interests lie in the area of tribology. She is the program co-director for the NSF and DoD funded Automotive Research and Industrial Mentorship REU program.

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Brian Sangeorzan Oakland University

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BRIAN SANGEORZAN (bsangeor@oakland.edu) is an associate professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University. He directs engine research activities at Oakland University and has 23 years experience teaching and conducting research in engine-related fluid and thermal phenomena.

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Xia Wang Oakland University

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XIA WANG (wang@oakland.edu) is an assistant professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University. Her research and teaching interests lie in the areas of fluid mechanics and heat transfer, with an emphasis on fuel cell technology.

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Chris Kobus Oakland University

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CHRIS KOBUS (cjkobus@oakland.edu) is an associate professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University. His research and teaching interests lie in the areas of heat transfer and alternative energy systems.

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Gary Barber Oakland University

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GARY BARBER (barber@oakland.edu) is the chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Oakland University. His research and teaching interests lie in the area of tribology.

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Alex Alkidas Oakland University

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ALEX ALKIDAS (alkidas@oakland.edu) recently retired from GM R&D Center where he spent 29 years as a senior staff research engineer working in the area of experimental engine research. He has for many years been involved in research, teaching and advising activities in the ME department at Oakland University, and is currently serving as an adjunct professor in the department.

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Michael Latcha Oakland University

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MICHAEL LATCHA (latcha@oakland.edu) is an associate professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University. He was the primary person in charge of the assessment of the NSF and DoD funded Automotive Research and Industrial Mentorship REU program.

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

Generating Enthusiasm for Research through Automotive Projects and Industrial Mentors: Lessons Learned from the First Year of an REU Program

Introduction

The department of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University (OU) received funding for three years through the National Science Foundation REU program and the Department of Defense ASSURE program to organize a summer research experience for undergraduates (REU) program that focuses on automotive research. The Automotive Research and Industrial Mentorship (ARIM) REU program at Oakland University 1 aims to engage participants in rewarding automotive research experiences that excite and motivate them to pursue careers in scientific and engineering research, and seeks to address the nationwide problem of the under- representation of women and minorities in the sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The automotive focus of this program was a natural choice given OU’s close ties to and location near the world headquarters and engineering centers of the Big-Three automakers, as well as over one hundred automotive suppliers in southeast Michigan. So, in the summer of 2006, ten undergraduate engineering students from across the United States – half of whom were female - spent 10 weeks working in teams of two or three on automotive research projects involving fluid mechanics, heat transfer, energy and/or tribology. Throughout this program, students worked closely with faculty, industrial mentors and graduate students and took part in additional activities such as field trips, seminars, meetings with working engineers and automotive researchers, an SAE conference and short courses on alternative energy. One of the key features of this program was its use of industrial mentors; the industrial mentors are all highly qualified and experienced individuals from the automotive industry who have volunteered to take part in this experience because they have a strong commitment to mentorship and are eager to share their knowledge and experiences with talented young students.

The purpose of this paper is to present some of the lessons learned from the first year of the program. Some of the planning, logistics and procedures will be described. Emphasis will be placed on the lessons learned: what worked, what didn’t work and what improvements can be made in the following years. We believe that this type of information would prove useful to others seeking to organize similar programs.

Basic Philosophy of the Program

The nationwide problem of the under-representation of women in the sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields is well known and has been well documented 2-6. While women have been entering and graduating from colleges and universities across the country at record rates (receiving over 57% of Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral degrees in fields other than the sciences and engineering in 2001), they are not selecting the STEM fields of study that tend to generate the higher salaries and also are necessary for the continued competitiveness of

Guessous, L., & Zou, Q., & Sangeorzan, B., & Wang, X., & Kobus, C., & Barber, G., & Alkidas, A., & Latcha, M. (2007, June), Generating Enthusiasm For Research Through Automotive Projects And Industrial Mentors: Lessons Learned From The First Year Of An Reu Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2312

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