Asee peer logo

Mixed Method Study of the Evolution of Leadership Traits during a Leadership Experience

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Assessment of Engineering Leadership Skills

Tagged Division

Engineering Leadership Development Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Luisa Ruiz Mendoza University of Texas - El Paso

visit author page

Luisa is a recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship since 2009. In May 2013, Luisa graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Business Management. Then, in December 2014 she received a master's degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Ms. Ruiz plans to pursue a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Foundations with a concentration in Engineering Leadership at UTEP. She would like to work on a case study to measure the learning outcomes of engineering students in the new Bachelor's of Science degree at UTEP, Engineering Education & Leadership.

visit author page


Leonardo Orea-Amador University of Texas - El Paso

visit author page

Leonardo is a research student dedicated to design, engineering, and entrepreneurship. He is an investigator for the Empathic Design Studio at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) since August 2015.

Leonardo is working to obtain his master’s degree in Systems Engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso where he also obtained his bachelors of science in Mechanical Engineering.

In 2014 he and his team were awarded first place with project, ProductivityPod, at the Paso del Norte Venture Competition (PDNVC), a local competition which gives the opportunity for young entrepreneurs to exhibit their business competencies.

Currently he is working on launching a new startup company which seeks to innovate certain aspects in the realm of wind energy and will be established at El Paso.

visit author page


Meagan R. Kendall University of Texas - El Paso

visit author page

Dr. Meagan R. (Vaughan) Kendall received her PhD from The University of Texas at Austin where her research focused on the design of a low-cost, volume adjustable prosthetic socket. Now an Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at El Paso, she is helping develop a new Engineering Leadership Program to help students to bridge the gap between traditional engineering education and what they will really experience in industry. Her research interests span the areas of engineering education, biomechanics, and product design methodology.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The mission of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) is to provide access and excellence in higher education to underserved student populations. An innovative educational experience was created for a group of students from the Engineering Education and Leadership (E-LEAD) Department to help further UTEP’s mission. These students are pursuing a Bachelor of Science that seeks to accelerate the development of students as leaders with innovating mindsets, engineering problem solving skills, and business acumen. All students pursuing this degree are required to complete two for-credit professional practice experiences. Thus, an internship was tailored to give a group of students the opportunity to practice and develop the skills they are gaining outside of the traditional classroom setting. The educational experience created was a leadership internship to support the Higher Opportunities Thrive (H.O.T.) Conference hosted at UTEP. The conference’s primary goal is to expose middle and high school students living in public housing to higher education. The role of the E-LEAD undergraduates in the conference was to add engineering workshops to the conference curriculum. During the spring 2015 semester, four sophomore E-LEAD students were recruited for the internship – two to prepare and implement workshops for middle school students and the other two for high school students. The E-LEAD students received training based on the engineering design process, mirroring its steps during the developing and teaching of the workshops. This training included presentations on: STEM related fields of study, how innovation is driven by diversity, and how to motivate low-income students to study different fields of engineering. The E-LEAD students were provided with minimal required material for each workshop and were given the freedom to choose the focus and content of the workshops. They presented the activities and workshops to the supervising graduate student (observer). Since the design of the conference was such that the same set of workshops were given during each week of the 4-week conference, the E-LEAD students were encouraged to continue innovating their workshops for each week of the conference. The observer using a mixed method analysis to measure the application and development of engineering and leaderships skills gained in the classroom. The students completed a Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) self-assessment before and after their internship. The LPI is based on 30 statements using a rarely-to-very-frequently 5-point scale ( The observer evaluated the participants using the same method. The five leadership attributes assessed were Model (the Way), Inspire (a Shared Vision), Challenge (the Process), Enable (Others to Act), and Encourage (the Heart). A pre- and post-leadership experience interview was also conducted. At the end of every week, the participants were interviewed and completed a Likert scale survey to evaluate their personal and team leadership performance. The LPI showed that participants had a measured leadership appreciation which improved from 3.4 to 3.9 points in average score. Whereas the observer qualified their apparent leadership to improve from 2.1 to 4.4 points. The attributes with the greater improvements were Model, Inspire, and Challenge. Particularly, participants prominently improved their encouragement skills. Only the Challenge attribute displayed divergent improvements.

Ruiz Mendoza, L., & Orea-Amador, L., & Kendall, M. R. (2016, June), Mixed Method Study of the Evolution of Leadership Traits during a Leadership Experience Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25731

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: © 2016 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