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Outcomes and Lessons Learned from a NSF-REU Site on Metrology and Nondestructive Inspection

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

NSF Grantees: REU 1

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Mathew Kuttolamadom Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Mathew Kuttolamadom is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Technology & Industrial Distribution and the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from Clemson University’s Int'l Center for Automotive Research. His professional experience is in the automotive industry including at the Ford Motor Company. At TAMU, he teaches Mechanics, Manufacturing and Mechanical Design to his students. His research thrusts include bioinspired functionally-graded composites, additive/subtractive manufacturing processes, laser surface texturing, tribology, visuo-haptic VR/AR interfaces and engineering education.

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Jyhwen Wang Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Jyhwen Wang joined the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University after working for 10 years as a researcher and R&D manager in industry. He teaches mechanics of materials, mechanical design applications and manufacturing processes. His research interest is in design and analysis of material processing technologies. He received his Ph. D. degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University.

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The objective of this paper is to detail the outcomes and lessons learned over the past three years of the project cycle, from a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site on metrology and non-destructive inspection (NDI). Besides detailing the evolution of the major activities over the course of the project progression, the project performance in terms of meeting outcomes and the lessons learned will be elaborated.

The goal of this new REU site was to enhance the knowledge and skill-level of a diverse cohort of undergraduates through empowering, hands-on and interdisciplinary research experiences in metrology and NDI technologies. This site was essentially a direct response to a recurring concern raised by regional industry partners and technical workforce recruiters about the lack of pragmatic metrology/NDI-related knowledge and skills in their incoming regional workforce. Over the past three years, a total of 30 REU students progressed through and completed the program. The major project evaluation mechanism consisted of pre- and post-program questionnaires (besides individual research project deliverables), that provided insight into student impressions of the site as well as their intent to pursue advanced study and STEM careers. These were tabulated against the goals of the REU site, and conclusions drawn on the site’s progress in achieving its intended objectives. Details are also provided on the recruiting efforts undertaken and the applicant pool it generated, especially in regard to the switching of the application portal from one that was managed individually by the REU site to a common pilot application system managed at the NSF program level. Finally, the demographics and regional spread of the participants as well as their intentions for advanced-study and STEM career choices are detailed as well. Altogether, the experience, outcomes and lessons learned from this REU site operation is expected to guide the effective and efficient operation of future REU sites as well as undergraduate research projects in general.

Kuttolamadom, M., & Wang, J. (2020, June), Outcomes and Lessons Learned from a NSF-REU Site on Metrology and Nondestructive Inspection Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35022

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