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International Experiential Learning in Engineering: a Case Study of Junior Enterprise in the United States

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2014 ASEE International Forum


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 14, 2014

Start Date

June 14, 2014

End Date

June 14, 2014

Conference Session

Track 3 - Session 1

Tagged Topic

Student Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

20.25.1 - 20.25.10



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Paper Authors


Morgan M. Bakies University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Morgan Bakies is an undergraduate student in chemical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and former British Exchange student at Swansea University in Swansea, Wales. During her studies as an undergraduate, she conducted research through a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of Alabama and also interned at LyondellBasell's Houston Refinery.

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Karen Seliah Lamb University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Karen Lamb is an undergraduate student in computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and former exchange student at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, MA. In the past, she has interned at Cerner Corporation and IBM doing software development and has conducted research in computer security at Sandia National Laboratories.

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International Experiential Learning in Engineering: a Case Study of Junior Enterprise in the United StatesCurrently, large research-based engineering schools, such as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), are trying to incorporate more project-based learning (PBL) intoengineering curricula. However, integrating PBL proves to be challenging, especially in largelecture classes that freshman and sophomore engineers are typically required to take. A solutionto this problem is Junior Enterprise (JE), a student-led non-profit consulting organizationcomprised of undergraduate and graduate students. Students work on projects together to provideservices to companies and institutions, enhancing students’ business and entrepreneurial skillsthrough practical application of classroom theory. In 2012, Junior Enterprise started in theUnited States at UIUC to provide experiential and entrepreneurial education for engineeringstudents through consulting projects with local start-up companies, non-profit organizations andUIUC. This paper summarizes the history of JE abroad and details a single case study of theimplementation and integration of JE at UIUC, including the current state and the future plans ofthe Junior Enterprise movement in the US, and offers best practices and recommendations forother institutions.The Junior Enterprise movement started in 1967 in France. It has revolutionized experientialeducation in over 20 countries for almost 50 years. Currently, JE is present in 14 differentEuropean countries with over 280 Junior Enterprises which are represented and promoted byinternational organization JADE (Junior Association for Development in Europe, established in1992). According the 2012 European Commission study of 2,500 recent college graduates, JEstudents obtain full-time employment after graduation more quickly than their peers due to theirbetter developed skills in adaptability, creativity, networking and analysis. Junior Enterprisestudents are intrinsically motivated to take an active role in their education as engineers throughproject-based learning.At UIUC, Junior Enterprise gives students an opportunity to hone their skills outside of theclassroom of theoretical learning with experiential learning. The founders of UIUC’s JuniorEnterprise believed that engineering students need more exposure to practical engineeringapplications. The Illinois Foundry of Innovation in Engineering Education (iFoundry) supportedthis endeavor to improve experiential learning at the University of Illinois through engineeringstudents and assisted in funding JE. Junior Enterprise offers a student-driven solution that offersexperiential learning to students by providing the following skills including: leadership,interfacing with clients, project management, and technological literacy.Junior Enterprise develops entrepreneurial skills in students while promoting both 21st centuryskills and technical skills. Projects prepare students for full-time employment by requiringteamwork and analytical thinking to solve problems. Therefore, JE is a beneficial studentorganization that increases the quality of engineering education by preparing students for theirfuture careers. This paper intends to demonstrate student development through the internationalexperience of Junior Enterprise and make a case for the expansion of Junior Enterprisethroughout the United States. The conclusion of this paper includes the core benefits ofinvolvement in Junior Enterprise for American engineering students and recommendations foruniversities interested in starting their own Junior Enterprises.

Bakies, M. M., & Lamb, K. S. (2014, June), International Experiential Learning in Engineering: a Case Study of Junior Enterprise in the United States Paper presented at 2014 ASEE International Forum, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--17188

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