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Re Engineering An Undergraduate Summer Research Site

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.963.1 - 8.963.9



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Since 1996 a summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site in structural engineering, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), has operated at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). During this time 41 students from 25 colleges and universities have participated in the site. Participants are recruited nationally and have come from as far way as California and Puerto Rico. The program is intended to provide students interested in graduate studies with an introduction to research methods, and to provide students who will not continue their studies past a BSCE with a better understanding of how research provides the theoretical foundation of engineering practice. Students work individually with faculty on literature reviews, computer modeling, laboratory testing, and field research. Four students have researched structural failure case studies and the technical and ethical lessons to be learned from them. Participants also have the opportunity to tour construction sites and construction material manufacturers’ and fabricator’s facilities. During the past three years, an ethics seminar series has been added. At the end of the program, students prepare research papers and web pages documenting their work and present their results to faculty, students, and other participants. Recently, a change of site focus to Infrastructure and Sustainable Development has been proposed. This paper discusses the lessons learned during the conduct of the site over the years, changes made to improve the quality of the undergraduate research experience, and the evolution of the site’s ethics components. Results of participant surveys on completion of the program as well as follow-up surveys are also reviewed.

Delatte, N. (2003, June), Re Engineering An Undergraduate Summer Research Site Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12309

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