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“I That I Myself Am on the Path to Being a Pioneer”: Characterizing the Experiences of Graduate Students in an Innovative Interviewing Experience

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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

Exploring Graduate Student Experiences

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1783.1 - 26.1783.17



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Paper Authors


Natascha M Trellinger Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Natascha Trellinger is a second year Ph.D. student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She received her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University where her interest in the teaching and learning aspects of engineering began. At Purdue, Natascha is a member of the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) and is particularly interested in graduate level engineering education.

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Brook Sattler University of Washington

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Dr. Sattler is a Research Scientist for the Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching (CELT) and a Multi-Campus Coordinator for the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education (CPREE) at the University of Washington. Her research interests include understanding and promoting self-authoring engineers.

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Jennifer A Turns University of Washington

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“I realized that I myself am on the path to being a pioneer”: Characterizing the experiences of graduate students in an innovative interviewing opportunityTraditional engineering departments occasionally include members of the engineering educationcommunity. While many of the same research paradigms exist between traditional engineeringand engineering education research, a different set of tools and ideas are often employed in thecommunity of engineering education. Graduate students in engineering and engineeringeducation have differing experiences and prior knowledge about conducting research dependingon their background and graduate program. Therefore, graduate students in traditionaldepartments may not have access to the resources that would help them develop the researchskills and feelings of belonging to the community that would prepare them for a career with anengineering education component. This research examines if participation in an innovativeinterviewing opportunity provides a venue for traditional engineering graduate students, as wellas education and engineering education graduate students, to gain important experiences thatcontribute to their professional development as scholars in the field.The purposes of the Engineering Education Pioneers and Trajectories of Impact Project are to (1)understand the process of transformational change by interviewing early pioneers of the field ofengineering education, and (2) catalyze and study the development of new pioneers, i.e. graduatestudents who are the future generation of engineering education change agents. Thirty-ninegraduate students participated in the project from more than ten institutions across the country invarious departments. Some of these graduate students were experienced qualitative researcherswho were well integrated into the field and some were interested in engineering educationresearch who came from a traditional engineering department or education department.In this paper, we intend to characterize the individual graduate student experiences associatedwith participation in the Engineering Education Pioneers and Trajectories of Impact Project.Through a phenomenological lens, we aim to explore the following research question: How dothe individual graduate students who interviewed pioneers in the field describe theirexperiences? Preliminary findings indicate that the characterization of these experiences mightrange from positive and significant experiences to more neutral, muted ones. We will also beexploring whether some combination of background and prior knowledge position a graduatestudent for a specific characterization of their experience, whether that is positive or neutral.Preliminary analysis of the open-ended survey responses indicate that participation in thisinterviewing experience contributed to the professional development of the graduate students,including outcomes such as increased feelings of belonging in the community, gaining valuableresearch skills, and understanding new pedagogical techniques.

Trellinger, N. M., & Sattler, B., & Turns, J. A. (2015, June), “I That I Myself Am on the Path to Being a Pioneer”: Characterizing the Experiences of Graduate Students in an Innovative Interviewing Experience Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23347

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