June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Outstanding Contributions - Mechanical Engineering Education
15.949.1 - 15.949.15
Perceptions, expectations and outcomes of the Third Year of a Research Experiences for Undergraduates program
Findings from a third-year study of a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site are presented in this paper. Ten students out of 79 applicants were selected to participate in hands-on experimental research in a mechanical engineering department for 8 weeks in the summer of 2009. The program matched students with faculty and graduate student mentors in several mechanical engineering laboratories, including experimental fluid dynamics, micro-sensors, laser micromachining, and advanced manufacturing. Participants attended seminars on experimental uncertainty, planning experiments, and presentation of experimental data. Students also attended field trips to local companies where they met with practicing mechanical engineers.
The REU students participated in before-program and after-program surveys and focus groups. The pre-post surveys indicated that as a result of the program students felt they had gained considerable hands-on experience, the ability to work with specialized equipment and methods of making engineering measurements, and that they were far more knowledgeable about engineering research. Eight out of 10 participants expressed a desire to attend engineering graduate school in both the pre- and post-surveys, though the number of students responding 5 to 2 in the post-survey.
Focus group discussions both pre- and post-program provided insight into a number of issues,
employment; the arrival at more realistic expectations of the conduct of engineering research, including dealing with uncertainty, setbacks and logistical issues, and the absence of project closure in an 8- decisions to apply for an REU program as well as the economic implications of pursuing a
publicizing, and recruiting for REU programs are discussed.
Description of the REU Site Program
A Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site Program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) was held during 8 weeks of the summer of 2009 at Southern Methodist University. The program was the final year of a three-year grant, and the results from the first two summers were published previously1,2. The purpose of this paper is to provide a summary of the final year of the program based on feedback from applicants and participants. Some of the evaluation questions were updated in the final year to reflect the possibility that student motivations for participating in the program were altered by the economy.
selected by the PIs due to the emphasis on experimental research by the majority of faculty in the
Willis, D., & Krueger, P., & Kendrick, A. (2010, June), Perceptions, Expectations And Outcomes Of The Third Year Of A Research Experiences For Undergraduates Program Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16683
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