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Overview of Student Innovation Competitions and Their Roles in STEM Education

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2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting


Virtually Hosted by the section

Publication Date

November 12, 2021

Start Date

November 12, 2021

End Date

November 13, 2021

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Sadan Kulturel-Konak Pennsylvania State University, Berks Campus

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Sadan Kulturel-Konak is a professor of Management Information Systems at Penn State Berks where she is also the director of the Flemming Creativity, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED) Center. She received her Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Auburn University. Dr. Kulturel-Konak teaches a variety of courses, such as Project Management, Statistics, Management Information Systems, Entrepreneurial Leadership, Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and New Venture Creation. She engages her students in research and mission projects in the US and overseas as well. Her scholarly research interests include i) modeling and optimization of complex systems and robustness under uncertainty with applications in facility layout, location, and scheduling, ii) student professional skill development and assessment in STEM fields. She has been a principal investigator in sponsored projects from National Science Foundation (NSF) and VentureWell. She is currently an elected academic member of the College Industry Council on Material Handling Education (CICMHE). Previously, she served as the president of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) Forum on Women in Operations Research and Management Science (WORMS), chair of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Mid Atlantic Section, and chair of the Facility Logistics Special Interest Group of the INFORMS Transportation Science and Logistics (TSL).

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Student innovation competitions have long been an essential part of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Higher education institutions and foundations have expanded their co-curricular program offerings to recruit and support student innovators, such as design challenges, hackathons, start-up incubator competitions, boot camps, customer discovery labs, and accelerator programs. Therefore, student innovation competitions and challenges are increasingly playing a role in educating the next generation of innovators and critical thinkers. This paper focuses on student innovation competitions, which are usually non-credit, co-curricular, and team-based programs in which student teams aim to solve open-ended problems. The benefits and challenges of student innovation competitions for the participants in STEM education are summarized. Hence, the specific focus and details of the reviewed competitions are not in this paper’s scope.

Kulturel-Konak, S. (2021, November), Overview of Student Innovation Competitions and Their Roles in STEM Education Paper presented at 2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting, Virtually Hosted by the section. 10.18260/1-2--38445

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