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Guiding Student Engineers in the Co-op Obtainment Process: Exploring Methods of Motivation

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Cooperative and Experiential Education Division Technical Session 3 - Co-op Recruitment and Factors Affecting Success

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Cooperative and Experiential Education

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Paper Authors


Brandy Maki Minnesota State University, Mankato Orcid 16x16

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Brandy is an electrical engineer who serves students of Minnesota State University's Bell Program. She has prior experience in the electronics manufacturing industry, automotive industry, and process control. She aims to push the limits--of engineering education, of what humanity can accomplish, of what one educator (alone and together with a network) can do to promote, encourage, and improve the education of our future engineers. Her vision of the future is a community of humans, living well, not only on Earth but on other spherical lands inside and outside of our solar system. The future is bright and filled not only with humans living in harmony with nature but also utilizing technology in such a way as to promote a strong future, growing intelligence and curiosity, strengthening the health and happiness of humanity as well as the Earth.

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Cody Mann Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Working with Minnesota State University, Mankato to deliver an innovative, co-op-based engineering education program called the Iron Range Engineering Bell Program. Graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree through Iron Range Engineering and worked in the paper-making industry before making the move to work in engineering education. Pursuing a Master of Engineering degree through the University of Minnesota Duluth and working towards obtaining a professional engineering license.

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Guiding Student Engineers in the Co-op Obtainment Process: Exploring Methods of Motivation

This work-in-progress paper aims to explore how various methods of motivation might be combined with the art of job search in a student-learning coach relationship to increase the student engineer’s confidence and ability to attain a co-op. The job search process requires confidence, persistence, and practice. Various motivational methods will be explored through application in the Bell Program, a new program offering students the ability to earn a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree while working full-time as engineering co-ops. This race/gender-inclusive co-op-based model, geared toward community college students, takes place over five semesters: one campus-based semester and four co-op-based semesters. Because the Bell program requires at least sixteen months of engineering co-op experience, it is critical that the students attain a co-op as soon as they are able. Rather than pre-arranging co-op positions, this program aims to develop the student’s abilities by utilizing learning coaches, who work along-side the student in the process of attaining their co-op. Ensuring that each student obtains a co-op presents a challenge, yet it also opens the opportunity to create novel solutions. The first group of student engineers began this program in 2019. This WIP seeks to answer the question, “How can we maximize the student engineer’s confidence, persistence, and ability to attain a co-op?” It will document the various methods utilized to motivate the first cohort as they work to attain their first co-op. It will also attempt to categorize these methods. Future work may include researching the effectiveness of each method and whether students respond differently to various methods.

Maki, B., & Mann, C. (2020, June), Guiding Student Engineers in the Co-op Obtainment Process: Exploring Methods of Motivation Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34718

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