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Impact of Research Experience Programs on National and International Undergraduate Engineering Students

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Improved Pathways to Graduate Studies

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Jacques C. Richard Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Richard got his Ph. D. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1989 & a B. S. at Boston University, 1984. He was at NASA Glenn, 1989-1995, worked at Argonne National Lab, 1996-1997, taught at Chicago State University, 1997-2002. Dr. Richard is a Sr. Lecturer & Research Associate in Aerospace Engineering @ Texas A&M since 1/03. His research is focused on computational plasma modeling using spectral and lattice Boltzmann methods for studying plasma turbulence and plasma jets. His research has also included fluid physics and electric propulsion using Lattice-Boltzmann methods, spectral element methods, Weighted Essentially Non-Oscillatory (WENO), etc.
Past research includes modeling single and multi-species plasma flows through ion thruster optics and the discharge cathode assembly; computer simulations of blood flow interacting with blood vessels; modeling ocean-air interaction; reacting flow systems; modeling jet engine turbomachinery going unstable at NASA for 6 years (received NASA Performance Cash awards). Dr. Richard is involved in many outreach activities: e.g., tutoring, mentoring, directing related grants (for example, a grant for an NSF REU site). Dr, Richard is active in professional societies (American Physical Society (APS), American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), etc.), ASEE, ASME. Dr. Richard has authored or co-authored about 35 technical articles (about 30 of which are refereed publications). Dr. Richard teaches courses ranging from first-year introductory engineering design, fluid mechanics, to space plasma propulsion.

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So Yoon Yoon Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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So Yoon Yoon, Ph.D., is an associate research scientist at Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation (IEEI) in College of Engineering at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). She received a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with specialties in Gifted Education and a M.S.Ed. in Educational Psychology with specialties in Research Methods and Measurement both from Purdue University. She also holds a M.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics and a B.S. in Astronomy and Meteorology both from Kyungpook National University in South Korea. Her work centers on engineering education research, as a psychometrician, program evaluator, and institutional data analyst. She has research interests on spatial ability, creativity, gifted education, STEM education, and meta-analyses. She has authored/co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings and served as a journal reviewer in engineering education, STEM education, and educational psychology, as well as a co-PI, an external evaluator or advisory board member on several NSF-funded projects (CAREER, iCorps, REU, RIEF, etc.).

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Maria Claudia Alves Texas A&M University

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Maria Claudia Alves
Director for the Halliburton Engineering Global Programs at Texas A&M University

Ms. Maria C. Alves is the Director for the Halliburton Engineering Global Programs at Texas A&M University . She has been in this position since July 2012. In this position she is responsible for internationalizing the research and education activities of the College of Engineering. Under her leadership the college has significantly increased the number of students studying abroad, established new models of study abroad including co-op and research abroad and established meaningful connection for research and attraction of funded international graduate students. Maria started working at Texas A&M in 2005 as Assistant Director for Latin American Programs and in 2009 she was promoted to Program Manager for South America in the same office. During her time at the Office for Latin America Programs she created, managed and developed projects to enhance the presence of Texas A&M University in Latin American and to support in the internationalization of the education, research, and outreach projects of the university. She was charged with the development and implementation of a strategic plan for Texas A&M in South America. While at the Office for Latin America Programs, Maria was also responsible for the opening of the Soltis Center in Costa Rica. Maria speaks three languages fluently (Spanish, Portuguese and English) as well as intermediate French. Maria is originally from Brazil and completed her undergraduate studies at Lynn University in Florida, where she graduated with honors in Business Administration in 2002. She was part of the tennis team and was the team captain for two years, including the year the team was NCAA National Champion in 2001. She is a December 2003 graduate of the MS-Marketing program at Texas A&M University. And in the Fall of 2009, Maria graduated with a PhD program in Higher Education Administration in August 2017.

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Vikram K. Kinra Texas A&M University

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Vikram K. Kinra is Professor of Aerospace Engineering. He earned his B. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Brown University.

He is the recipient of three best research paper awards. He was given the Hetenyi Award in 1991 - and again in 1994 - by the Society for Experimental Mechanics for "the best research paper to be published in the journal, Experimental Mechanics." He is one of only four people ever to receive this award twice. He was given the 1993 Award for Outstanding Article by the American Society for Testing and Materials for "the most outstanding article" in the ASTM Journal of Testing and Evaluation. He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (1992), Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1993), and Fellow of the American Academy of Mechanics (2004)

He is the recipient of two national awards for excellence in teaching: the Dow Outstanding Young Faculty Award (1980) given by the American Society for Engineering Education and the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award (1982) given by the Society of Automotive Engineers. He was given the Distinguished Alumnus Award (1995) by Utah State University. He has supervised twenty-eight graduate students: eighteen M.S. and ten Ph.D.; two of them are now Professors.

Dr. Kinra has published 85 journal articles, 110 papers in conference proceedings, contributed three book-chapters, and edited four books.

He has been actively involved in service to various professional societies. He was an Associate Technical Editor of the flagship ASME J. of Applied mechanics (two terms) and an Associate Technical Editor of the flagship SEM J. of Experimental Mechanics (two terms).

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This study attempted to explore any differences in the impact of summer research experiences from undergraduate (REU) programs on national and international undergraduate students at a southwestern public research university. The national students from across the United States participated in a REU program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for undergraduates, who are citizens or permanent residents, and hosted in the Aerospace Engineering department. The international students from India participated in the college-wide global engineering program funded by the same university.

However, the two programs had a similar structure of research experiences for both groups of students and collaborated in sharing common activities, such as workshops, tours, social (picnics, barbecues, attending sporting events, and participating in recreational activities) during summer in 2017 and 2018. One major difference is that each international student joined a research group of a faculty mentor in various engineering departments, but some for eight weeks, less than an intended 10, due to visa delays, while almost all national students joined a research group of a faculty mentor in the Aerospace Engineering department for 10 weeks. The national and international students shared the same housing arrangements and events to assist in all students having similar experiences and community-building. Both groups of students had opportunities to respond to the same pre-post surveys on career decision making between graduate school and industry, research, and mentoring experiences at the university.

This study presents 19 national and 14 international students’ changes in those areas as the impact of the research experiences at the university and any differences between two groups, national and international. Preliminary findings showed that most students came to favor graduate education and research, their preferences did not change at the end of the REU programs, as desired by the common goals of the national and international research experience programs. Students’ perceptions of research knowledge, skills, and engineering career path were all positively improved. Students expressed several areas of research skills that they were able to amass during the programs. While students ranked faculty as the most influential mentor, followed by Ph.D. students and peers, post-doctoral researchers and master’s students ranked the lowest. International students also presented cultural differences influencing their experience. Content analyses of responses to open-ended questions are currently ongoing to explore areas of the cultural differences in conducting research between the two groups.

Richard, J. C., & Yoon, S. Y., & Alves , M. C., & Kinra, V. K. (2019, June), Impact of Research Experience Programs on National and International Undergraduate Engineering Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32933

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