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Quality of Life Technology Research Experience for Veterans/Teachers Program

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1027.1 - 24.1027.7



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Paper Authors


Mahender Mandala HERL/VAPHS

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Mahender Mandala received a B.Engg. in Mechanical Engineering from Osmania University at Hyderabad, India (2008), M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kansas at Lawrence, KS (2011) and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA) studying Rehabilitation Science and Technology.
His primary interest lies in the fields of Product Design, Design Education and Statistics.

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Mary R. Goldberg University of Pittsburgh

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Mary Goldberg, MEd received her bachelors degree in Psychology & Spanish and a Masters of Education in Administrative and Policy Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been the Lead Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology and Human Engineering Research Laboratories since 2007, where she has served as Co-PI on four training programs in the field of assistive technology for undergraduates, veterans, and Masters students. She is dually involved with the Research Experience for Undergraduates and Teachers programs, in addition to other education initiatives at the Quality of Life Technology Center, all funded by National Science Foundation. Ms. Goldberg is pursuing her PhD in Administrative and Policy Studies of Education with an expected completion of fall 2013 focusing on measuring the effectiveness of online training related to assistive technology.

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Jon Pearlman Human Engineering Research Labs

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Jon Pearlman, PhD, received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and his M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University with a focus in Biomechanics and his PhD in Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh. His research centers on Assistive Technology Product development and quality control. Related to these topics, Dr. Pearlman has several assistive technology design and development projects which are funded through the VA and the University of Pittsburgh; many of these projects are in collaboration with clinician and commercialization partners to ensure they are clinically relevant and are commercially available. To support quality control of assistive technologies, Dr. Pearlman sits on the ISO and ANSI/RESNA standards committees for the Wheelchair testing, and provides technical advice to the VA’s prosthetic purchasing committee.

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Our  REV/T  program  builds  on  the  accomplishments  of  our  RET  program  that  has  resulted  in  patents,  invention  disclosures,  and  journal  publications.  Additionally,  when  developing  our  REV/T  initiative,  we  drew  from  the  success  of  ELeVATE  (NSF-­‐funded  Experiential  Learning  for  Veterans  in  Assistive  Technology  and  Engineering),  our  college  transition  program  for  Veterans  with  disabilities  (VwD).  Both  programs  focus  on  engaging  our  target  populations,  STEM  teachers  from  economically  and  racially  diverse  school  districts  and  VwD,  in  our  Quality  of  Life  Technology  (QoLT)  research  and  development  efforts.  Prior  to  the  installation  of  the  REV/T  however,  we  had  not  combined  the  efforts  of  the  two  programs  to  develop  a  cohort  where  VwD  interact  with  teachers  to  impact  not  only  their  personal  experiences  in  the  program,  but  also  those  of  their  students  moving  forward.  In  addition  to  our  core  participants,  hundreds  of  traditionally  underrepresented  high  school  students  become  heavily  engaged  in  multi-­‐month  engineering  experiences  during  the  academic  year.  The  success  of  our  approach  involves  a  seamless  transition  between  summer  research  and  academic  year  teaching  via  a  common  product  innovation  focus.  Similarly,  ELeVATE  participants  gain  continuity  in  their  college  transition  process  by  engaging  in  research  projects  and  mentored  relationships  through  the  academic  year.  The  pairing  of  the  ELeVATE  with  RET  participants  has  resulted  in  an  additional  link  that  supports  the  VwD  through  their  academic  transition,  and  conversely,  the  VwD  assists  the  teachers  in  classroom  implementation  of  new  curricular  units.  Four  VwD  were  paired  with  2  teams  of  teachers  through  the  whole  RET  cycle  (research  experience,  product  innovation  course,  curricular  development  &  implementation).    The  program  also  serves  as  a  fruitful  mechanism  to  promote  mentoring  of  multiple  levels  (teachers,  high  school  students,  veteran  students)  among  our  graduate  students  in  the  Quality  of  Life  Technology  Center.        

Mandala, M., & Goldberg, M. R., & Pearlman, J. (2014, June), Quality of Life Technology Research Experience for Veterans/Teachers Program Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22960

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