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Leveraging Curriculum to Mitigate Engineering Killer Courses

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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

First-Year Programs Division Poster Session

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First-Year Programs

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Stephen Andrew Wilkerson P.E. York College of Pennsylvania

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Stephen Wilkerson ( received his PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 1990 in Mechanical Engineering. His Thesis and initial work was on underwater explosion bubble dynamics and ship and submarine whipping. After graduation he took a position with the US Army where he has been ever since. For the first decade with the Army he worked on notable programs to include the M829A1 and A2 that were first of a kind composite saboted munition. His travels have taken him to Los Alamos where he worked on modeling the transient dynamic attributes of Kinetic Energy munitions during initial launch. Afterwards he was selected for the exchange scientist program and spent a summer working for DASA Aerospace in Wedel, Germany 1993. His initial research also made a major contribution to the M1A1 barrel reshape initiative that began in 1995. Shortly afterwards he was selected for a 1 year appointment to the United States Military Academy West Point where he taught Mathematics. Following these accomplishments he worked on the SADARM fire and forget projectile that was finally used in the second gulf war.
Since that time, circa 2002, his studies have focused on unmanned systems both air and ground. His team deployed a bomb finding robot named the LynchBot to Iraq late in 2004 and then again in 2006 deployed about a dozen more improved LynchBots to Iraq. His team also assisted in the deployment of 84 TACMAV systems in 2005. Around that time he volunteered as a science advisor and worked at the Rapid Equipping Force during the summer of 2005 where he was exposed to a number of unmanned systems technologies. His initial group composed of about 6 S&T grew to nearly 30 between 2003 and 2010 as he transitioned from a Branch head to an acting Division Chief. In 2010-2012 he again was selected to teach Mathematics at the United States Military Academy West Point. Upon returning to ARL's Vehicle Technology Directorate from West Point he has continued his research on unmanned systems under ARL's Campaign for Maneuver as the Associate Director of Special Programs. Throughout his career he has continued to teach at a variety of colleges and universities. For the last 4 years he has been a part time instructor and collaborator with researchers at the University of Maryland Baltimore County ( He is currently an Assistant Professor at York College PA.

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Inci Ruzybayev York College of Pennsylvania

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Inci Ruzybayev is Assistant Professor in Engineering Physics at the York College of Pennsylvania. She received her Ph. D. in Physics from University of Delaware and her M. S. and B. S. in Physics Education from M.E.T.U. in Turkey. Her technical research interests are in structural and characterization of TiO2 thin films and magnetic nanoparticles along with pedagogical research interests in improving engineering physics curriculum and seeking solutions to gender bias.

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Ashley J. Earle York College of Pennsylvania

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Ashley is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical and Civil Engineering department at York College of Pennsylvania. She received her B.S in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and B.A. in International Studies from Lafayette College. She then pursued her passion for neuromuscular disease research at Cornell University where she received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering. At York, she is passionate about developing pedagogy that encourages students in reflective learning and personal self reflection in engineering classes in addition to her passion for engineering ethics and conceptual learning.

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Historically Engineering curriculums drop out rates have hovered around 50% over the past 60 years despite attempts to mediate the losses. Most students don’t enjoy Calculus, Differential Equations, or Physics. Moreover, given the heavy course load at typically engineering schools it is very difficult for some students to adjust to the rigor. This paper details attempts to reinforce difficult topics like physics by having coordination between other courses in the curriculum. In particular, we couple mathematical modeling course problems with the introduction Physics course all engineers must take. The traditional mathematical modeling course includes random calculus and physics problems in the text, but these do little to help the average student struggling with physics. What we did that was different was to include specific problems from each chapter in the modeling course at the same time as they are covering the materials in Physics class. The hope is that this additional time spent on the topic will enable struggling students the additional push needed to successfully complete Physics. The process was started in the last academic year. For completeness we also included specific examples of how this was accomplished.

Wilkerson, S. A., & Ruzybayev, I., & Earle, A. J. (2021, July), Leveraging Curriculum to Mitigate Engineering Killer Courses Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37455

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