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Inner Engineering: A Convergent Mixed Methods Study Evaluating the Use of Contemplative Practices to Promote Resilience Among Freshman Engineering Students

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Seeking Resilience and Learning to Thrive Through Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

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Paper Authors


Mark V. Huerta Arizona State University

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Mark Huerta is a second year PhD student in the Engineering Education Systems & Design (EESD) program at Arizona State University. His primary research interest is integrating the ideas behind mindfulness among engineering students to promote resilience, self-regulated learning, and creativity. Mark is also the Chairman and Director of Programs of a non-profit called 33 Buckets, which empowers rural communities in developing countries to develop solutions for their drinking water problems. Before enrolling in the EESD program, Mark obtained a BS and MS in Biomedical Engineering at ASU.

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Despite evidence of the positive effects of mindfulness-based practices on a variety of dimensions including resilience and mental health, in general, there is little to no research on the use of these practices to support engineering education. The integration of mindfulness holds potential for helping engineering students combat stress, which is on the rise among college students. The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether engineering students would be receptive to integrating contemplative practices (e.g. mindfulness meditation) to cultivate and reinforce resilient behavior in both their personal lives and in their education. This study presents the results of a brief intervention deployed to approximately 92 freshman engineering students at a large southwestern institution. The intervention introduced engineering students to contemplative practices including mindfulness meditation and discussed how these practices could be integrated into their lives to more effectively handle challenging moments including those inherent in studying engineering. Using a convergent mixed methods design, this study uses a survey with open and closed-ended responses to evaluate levels of mindfulness and resilience, and to investigate students' interest levels of mindfulness practices. The paper will present an overview of the literature on the connection between mindfulness and resilience, details of the study design, and findings from the qualitative analyses. Results from this study will contribute to a gap in engineering education literature on how mindfulness may assist in developing resilient behavior among engineering students.

Huerta, M. V. (2018, June), Inner Engineering: A Convergent Mixed Methods Study Evaluating the Use of Contemplative Practices to Promote Resilience Among Freshman Engineering Students Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30664

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