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Lawnmowers and Prospective Engineers: A Recruitment Exercise

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Manufacturing and Machine Component Design

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1055.1 - 26.1055.22



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Paper Authors


Linda E. Craugh Ph.D. United States Naval Academy

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CDR Craugh is a Permanent Military Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department of the United States Naval Academy, a Surface Warfare Officer, and a registered Professional Engineer.

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Ethan E. Lust United States Naval Academy

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LCDR Ethan E. Lust is a Junior Permanent Military Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the U.S. Naval Academy. He is currently pursuing his PhD in ME from the University of Maryland, College Park. Since 2008 he has taught courses in engineering design and thermodynamics.
Address: 590 Holloway Rd., Annapolis, MD 21402 Phone: 410-293-6503 Email:

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Lawnmower DAA Exercise as a Recruiting ToolEvery College of Engineering faces the challenge of recruiting and retaining students in theirmajors. [this institution]’s students face a strict requirement to complete their coursework in fouryears in addition to a myriad of other demands on their time and attention, making their selectionof major even more consequential. _____________ Summer Seminar is a week-long, on campusimmersion program designed to provide rising high-school seniors insight into the uniqueenvironment and requirements of this school to help them make more educated choices withregard to both school and potential major. Candidates get a “week-in-the-life” exposure to theculture of the institution plus structured time with the various academic departments—periodswhen the departments are actively recruiting future majors as well as educating the potentialstudents about what it means to major in their field. These academic periods also present thefuture students with the hallmarks of our academic program: small class sizes, teaching-focusedfaculty, and a significant STEM component to all fields of study.The Mechanical Engineering Department developed a new disassemble/assemble/analyze (DAA)exercise involving a push lawnmower as its presentation for _____________ Summer Seminar.The students (who had no particular technical preparation) were divided into small teams andguided through a discussion of what it means to be an engineer and a qualitative overview ofdesign, solid mechanics, material properties, and thermodynamic principles as applied to theconstruct of a small machine. This paper will describe that project-based learning exercise indetail and propose options for extending and adapting it for use as a module within or as aframework for an introductory course for mechanical engineering majors.

Craugh, L. E., & Lust, E. E. (2015, June), Lawnmowers and Prospective Engineers: A Recruitment Exercise Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24392

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