Asee peer logo

Introducing the Entrepreneurial Mindset to Freshman Engineering Students Through an Agriculture Sector Project

Download Paper |


2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship and Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Deana R. Delp Ph.D. Arizona State University

visit author page

Deana R. Delp has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Arizona State University. She is a lecturer at Arizona State University for Engineering Academic and Student Affairs in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. She is the chair of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society Continuing Education sub-committee. She has industry experience as a systems engineer for General Dynamics Mission Systems, and as a research and development product engineer for Test Acuity Solutions.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This full paper addresses the topic of introducing the entrepreneurial mindset to freshman engineering students. The entrepreneurial mindset encompasses three parts - curiosity, connections, and creating value. During a project course, freshman engineering students discover the entrepreneurial mindset through the process of completing a team project. The assignment consists of five real-life problems from the agriculture sector. These issues tackle the reduction of water usage for crops, increased efficiency on the farm, and a reduction of over planting and chemical use on crops. The students are exposed to equipment and topics most have never analyzed or contemplated in the agriculture sector. After announcing the five problems, the students are immediately curious about the issues and enthusiastic about how they are going to develop solutions. The student teams select the problem they want to solve for their project. The teams research the subject matter and make connections with a farmer to gain more insight about the problem. With this connection, the students determine the requirements for the project design and realistic constraints about the equipment. The students explore creating value to the prototype by having results that can be retro-fitted on an existing piece of equipment, improve existing technology, or develop something new within a reasonable budget. The student teams benchmark their prototypes to determine where their product would fit in the market. They create value by knowing how their final solution benefits the user. Finally, the students build mechatronic prototypes using an Arduino, and the user is able to view the final demonstration and the innovative solutions from the student teams. This project exposes students to the entrepreneurial mindset and the importance of being curious, connecting with their user, and creating value in a design. Since the inception of this project, it has become a fundamental assignment in the course and an integral part of the class.

Delp, D. R. (2021, July), Introducing the Entrepreneurial Mindset to Freshman Engineering Students Through an Agriculture Sector Project Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015