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"Leveraging Co-op Experiences to Enhance Engineering Students' Leadership Skills"

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

CEED - Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.16.1 - 23.16.16



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Paper Authors


Karen P Kelley Northeastern University

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Karen P. Kelley is currently working at Northeastern University in Boston, MA as a Senior Cooperative Education Faculty Coordinator in the College of Engineering. She has worked for over 20 years with Mechanical and Industrial Engineering students assisting them in their co-op searches and guiding students in career decisions. In the role of Faculty Co-op Coordinator, Karen teaches both “Introduction to Cooperative Education” and “Professional Issues in Engineering” courses in the College of Engineering. Using students work experiences, she instructs students in the development of career portfolios to illustrate their skills and achievements to potential employers. She also currently serves as a consultant to the Gordon Engineering Leadership Program at Northeastern University where she is writing curriculum to develop and expand students’ leadership skills in the workplace. Karen has presented on a local and national level at the Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration and the American Society of Engineering Education on a variety of topics including, Co-op Reflection, Electronic Portfolios and Creative Job Development. In fall, 2004, Karen was also awarded the Camp Dresser and McKee award from the Department of Cooperative Education for her outstanding work with both employers and students and as a Faculty Co-op Coordinator. In 2012 Karen was again presented with the Outstanding Cooperative Education Coordinator of the year award from the College of Engineering at Northeastern University. Karen earned a B.S. Degree in Education and a Masters Degree in Counseling with a concentration in Industrial Counseling.

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Steven Thomas McGonagle Northeastern University Gordon Engineering Leadership Program

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Colonel McGonagle held numerous leadership positions in his 23-year Army career, including Chief of Training Operations, US Pacific Command. A graduate of Norwich University and Florida Tech and a US Army Ranger, he served as Professor of Military Science at Providence College and Director of Operations at King Industries.

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Cooperative Education & Experiential Division, June 2013 "How Co-op Experiences can be Leveraged to Enhance Engineering Students' Leadership Skills" Karen P. Kelley, Senior Faculty Co-op Coordinator, Northeastern University AbstractI work as a Co-op Coordinator guiding students majoring in mechanical and industrial engineering to securerelated co-op positions. In this role, I also have become involved with our Gordon Engineering LeadershipProgram here at Northeastern University. This is a graduate engineering program that also offers studentsan opportunity to earn a leadership certificate with their engineering MS degree.I few years ago I began introducing my undergraduate engineers to the Gordon Engineering Leadershipprogram. We began to collaborate with ways to offer leadership training to undergraduates and alsogenerate interest in gaining more leadership skills. As a Co-op Coordinator, I communicate with employerson a daily basis and talk about skills my students need to be successful in the workplace and leadership ismentioned quite often. It is my belief, in order to create more effective engineers, leadership training shouldbe offered as part of all engineering curriculums. I was also looking for more creative ways to weave thisinto our students' co-op positions without burdening employers. Thus, we experimented and created aunique way to bring this experience to our students.We began this project by assembling a student group consisting all engineering majors who were selfselected as individuals who wanted to acquire leadership skills. We offered classroom leadership training tothe students for two nights when they started their co-op and asked them to complete five leadershipmodules while they were on co-op. Upon completion of these requirements they earned a leadershipcertificate.This presentation will give an overview of how we created a Gordon Undergraduate Leadership cohort andoffered not only traditional classroom leadership training, but also a unique way that we used exercises ormodules to incorporate leadership into students' co-op experiences. I will outline the modules studentscompleted that enhanced their leadership skills while on co-op and demonstrate how we got employersinvolved. Most importantly, I will illustrate the positive impact these modules had on students' co-opexperiences.Karen KelleySenior Faculty Co-op CoordinatorME/IE334 Snell EngineeringNortheastern UniversityBoston, MA 02115617 373-3430

Kelley, K. P., & McGonagle, S. T. (2013, June), "Leveraging Co-op Experiences to Enhance Engineering Students' Leadership Skills" Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19025

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