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Physics Fundamentals, Engineering Design, And Research: An Integrated Approach To The Development Of A Three Week Shortcourse

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Programmatic Issues in Physics or Engineering Physics Programs

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

13.980.1 - 13.980.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4299

Download Count

31

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Paper Authors

biography

Winston Jackson California Institute of Technology

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Winston Jackson received his BS in Civil Engineering from Southern University and A&M College and his MS degree in Applied Mechanics at the California Institute of Technology, where he is currently continuing his PhD work. His research is in the area of experimental solid mechanics, and he has been a teaching assistant for a course in solid mechanics as well as the Physics Curriculum Coordinator for the 2007 YESS Program.

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Jennifer Franck California Institute of Technology

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Jennifer Franck is currently a PhD Candidate in Mechanical Engineering at California Institute of Technology. She received her BS in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia and her MS in Aeronautics from California Institute of Technology. Her research interest is in the area of computational fluid dynamics and flow control, and she has been an instructor in the YESS program for two years and is currently serving as co-director of the Caltech Classroom Connection.

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James Maloney California Institute of Technology

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James Maloney works for Caltech's Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division as the Coordinator and Co-Director of the Caltech Classroom Connection, a science education and outreach program. He received his masters of science in physics from Caltech for his work in the field of
nano-scale mechanical resonators. Before arriving at Caltech, he earned his bachelors of science in physics from the University of Florida.

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Juan Pedro Ochoa-Ricoux California Institute of Technology

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J. P. Ochoa-Ricoux was born in Mexico city in 1980. He obtained his B.S. in Physics Engineering with Honors from the ITESM (Monterrey Tech) in 2003. Since then he has been a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology, where he studies the phenomenon of neutrino oscillations in the MINOS Experiment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He also served as a physics instructor for the 2007 YESS Program.

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Julian Rimoli California Institute of Technology

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Julian Rimoli started working as an educator at Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina. There, he was first appointed as a graduate teaching assistant and was later selected as a Lecturer in Mathematics A, the first mathematics course for engineering students. While a graduate student in aeronautics at the California Institute of Technology, he became teaching assistant in an advanced class on computational mechanics and later was appointed as a YESS Physics Instructor. He enjoys teaching and doing research in the area of Computational Solid Mechanics.

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Luz Rivas California Institute of Technology

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Luz Rivas is Program Manager in the Office for Minority Student Education at the California Institute of Technology. Luz serves as the Director of the YESS Program. She received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Education degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Physics Fundamentals, Engineering Design, and Research: An Integrated Approach to the Development of a Three-Week Shortcourse

1. Abstract

Many outreach programs offered by universities provide pre-college students an opportunity to explore careers in science and engineering. For high-achieving students who already have an interest in these areas, these types of programs can introduce students to advanced concepts, develop their understanding of scientific methodologies, and expose them to science and engineering research. One such program, the Young Engineering and Science Scholars (YESS) Program, is a three-week summer residential program created to bring exceptional high school juniors and seniors from underrepresented minority groups to study at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The program is intended for motivated students who wish to broaden their knowledge of science and engineering beyond that offered by their high schools. During the three-week program, students take science courses and are exposed to laboratory tours, faculty lectures, and college admissions workshops.

The creation and implementation of an integrated curriculum for a physics and introductory engineering YESS course is the focus of this paper. The 2007 physics and engineering curriculum was designed with four main objectives in mind: to ensure that students had a conceptual understanding of mechanics fundamentals, to challenge students to use their knowledge of mechanics in an engineering design competition, to expose students to advanced topics in physics, and finally to provide students with an opportunity to conduct guided research. Several assessment methods were used to determine if this type of fast-paced and integrated curriculum would be successful in achieving the aforementioned objectives. These include a pre- and post-examination, student performance evaluations, and student surveys and feedback.

This paper provides a description of the program, a discussion on the teaching philosophy, a breakdown of the physics course structure, and a presentation of results obtained from the assessment. From these results, it is concluded that an integrated approach to increasing student understanding of physics fundamentals, design, and research can be accomplished in a shortcourse setting. It is therefore expected that the 2007 YESS physics curriculum presented here will serve as the educational model for the YESS Program in subsequent years.

2. Program Description

The YESS Program at Caltech is a three-week summer residential program for high-achieving rising high school juniors and seniors who are underrepresented in science and engineering fields. The program is free of charge to admitted students. YESS aims to strengthen students’ interests in science and engineering; develop students’ understanding of scientific methodologies; provide early exposure to science and engineering research; and recruit incoming students to Caltech.

Jackson, W., & Franck, J., & Maloney, J., & Ochoa-Ricoux, J. P., & Rimoli, J., & Rivas, L. (2008, June), Physics Fundamentals, Engineering Design, And Research: An Integrated Approach To The Development Of A Three Week Shortcourse Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4299

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: © 2008 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