Asee peer logo

Reflections on Eight Years of Undergraduate Research at Our Community College

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Research, Innovation and Careers

Tagged Division

Two-Year College

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Dan G. Dimitriu San Antonio College

visit author page

Dan G. Dimitriu has been practicing engineering since 1970 and taught engineering courses concurrently for more than 20 years at various institutions. In 2001, he joined San Antonio College full-time as the Coordinator of its Engineering program. He has been involved with several engineering societies and became a member of the Two-year College Division of ASEE in 2002. His research interests are in engineering graphics, 3-D Visualization, fuel cells, plastics, and engineering education. He received the 2015 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

visit author page


Klaus Bartels San Antonio College

visit author page

Klaus Bartels is an Adjunct Faculty member at San Antonio College (SAC) in the Mathematics, Architecture, Physics and Engineering Dept. He was born near Buenos Aires, Argentina and immigrated to the U.S. in 1956. He grew up and went to college in the Boston, MA area. He has a B.S.E.E. from Tufts University (1972) and an M.S.E.E. from M.I.T. (1975). He served as a Communications-Electronics Engineer/Officer in the USAF from 1975 to 1999, retiring as a colonel. He worked part time as a Flight Director at the Challenger Learning Center of San Antonio from 2000 to 2009, and has been teaching remedial math and engineering classes at SAC since 2000. He has also been involved in various engineering summer programs at SAC, including instructor for Robotics Camps for 3rd to 5th graders (2012 - 2014), instructor and coordinator for the Early Development of General Engineering program for high school students (2007 - 2015), and faculty adviser for alternative energy Summer Undergraduate Research Programs (2011 - present). In addition, he is currently the SAC Co-PI for the 3-year NSF CIMA-LSAMP Alliance grant supporting increased representation of Underrepresented Minorities (URMs) in STEM education and undergraduate research.

visit author page

author page

Dee Dixon

Download Paper |


Reflections on Eight Years of Undergraduate Research at Our Community College

Abstract Since 2010, our College has had developed a robust undergraduate research program that started with two projects and eight students and blossomed into five-to-six teams over an academic year with about 36 student participants. The success of the program can be attributed to collaboration with on-campus grants that support the projects that are administered through our Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Center, which is a study/resource center for our students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It has been widely reported that undergraduate research programs at four-year institutions increase retention, improve student success, and produce higher quality graduates. Our results demonstrate that two-year institutions can also initiate and maintain successful research programs. The success of the student’s research is a testament to the strength of the undergraduate research program at our College, which serves as the model that has been adopted at our sister colleges through the NSF-funded Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. Over the course of time, the number of underrepresented minorities and female participants has shown a significant increase with many of these students taking the leadership roles. This paper will present in detail the evolution of our undergraduate research program from a summer-only initiative in 2010 to a year-round program encompassing more than 20 successfully completed projects with more than 100 students and 10 faculty involved. These activities have provided a number of benefits to student participants, such as obtaining scholarships, internships, experiential learning, professional networking, public recognition, employment and research opportunities at four-year schools. In turn, our college has the benefit of collaborating with local and national organizations, institutions and universities resulting in greater recognition, access to better equipment, and joint partnerships that ultimately facilitate our students’ transfer to four-year institutions and increases their success in classes and graduation rates. This paper will detail the success and benefits of undergraduate research programs at a community college and the limitations and lessons learned over the past eight years.

Dimitriu, D. G., & Bartels, K., & Dixon, D. (2019, June), Reflections on Eight Years of Undergraduate Research at Our Community College Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33230

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: © 2019 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