June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
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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