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Mechatronics Experiential Learning for Broadening Participation in Engineering

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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

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1144.1 - 26.1144.18



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Paper Authors


Ashley Guy University of Texas at Arlington

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Ashley Guy is a doctoral student with the Robotics, Biomechanics, and Dynamic Systems Laboratory at the University of Texas at Arlington. He holds B.S. degrees in both Biology and Mechanical Engineering and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. with Dr. Alan Bowling. His research includes micro- and nano-scale dynamics.

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Alan Bowling University of Texas at Arlington

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Prof. Alan Bowling is from Austin, Texas and obtained his Bachelor's degree in Aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1988. After graduating he worked for McDonnell Douglas Space Systems Company in Houston, Texas for two years before going to graduate school at Stanford University and obtaining a Masters degree as well as a Ph. D. in Mechanical engineering in 1998. After graduation he pursued entrepenuerial activities in California for about three years. He joined the faculty at the University of Notre Dame in 2001 and moved to The University of Texas at Arlington in 2008. Prof. Bowling's interests lie in the areas of multibody dynamics, design, and control with a focus in robotic legged locomotion, as well as biomechanics at different time scales.

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Panayiotis S. Shiakolas University of Texas, Arlington

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Mechatronics Experiential Learning for Broadening Participation in Engineering The theme behind this research is equalizing educational opportunities that lead to increased re-tention of students from groups that are underrepresented in engineering at the University of Texasat Arlington (UTA). Hands-on learning experiences are known to increase student engagement intheir engineering training and we would like to make this motivator more available to underrepre-sented students. However, there is a certain skill set that must be acquired, having to do with dataacquisition systems and the hardware-software interface that are required to make any progress inmechatronics. Currently at UTA, students acquire these skills through individual research, extra-curricular experiences, or company internships, which are paths that cannot be gauranteed to befollowed by the targeted cohort. Adding formal curricular instruction of these skills allows allstudents have equal access to these skills, which can increase their desire and motivation to re-main in engineering. This instruction is being added to the undergraduate introduction to roboticscourse because many undergraduate students are excited and fascinated by robotics. The interplaybetween theory, practical, and hands-on knowledge in robotics also makes it an ideal area to in-troduce mechatronics. The goal is to introduce this course at the junior level, although the currentcohort consists of seniors, to prepare students for senior design where they can use these skills toproduce more sophisticated senior design projects. We will monitor the senior design projects ofstudents who have taken the course to determine whether they voluntarily use the knowledge theyhave gained, or shy away from such projects. The presentation of senior design projects is open toall faculty so we can easily follow students, particularly underrepresented ones, and determine towhat extent they use the information they learned in the class, which gives an indication of theirconfidence level and enthusiasm for the skills learned in the class.

Guy, A., & Bowling, A., & Shiakolas, P. S. (2015, June), Mechatronics Experiential Learning for Broadening Participation in Engineering Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24481

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