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Software Industry Experience for High School Students

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Software Engineering Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Constituent Committee

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Massood Towhidnejad Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach

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Massood Towhidnejad is Director of NextGeneration ERAU Applied Research (NEAR) laboratory, and Professor of Software Engineering in the department of Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His research interest includes; Software Engineering, Software Quality Assurance and Testing, Autonomous Systems, and Air Traffic Management (NextGen).

In addition to his university position, he has served as Visiting Research Associate at the Federal Aviation Administration, Faculty Fellow at NASA Goddard Flight Research Center, and Software Quality Assurance Manager at Carrier Corporations.

He is senior member of IEEE.

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Alexandria Spradlin Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Alexandria Spradlin is attending ERAU as a graduate student studying software engineering. She is also employed as a research assistant at the Next-Generation ERAU Applied Research Lab. She hopes to continue her education after graduation from Embry-Riddle to earn a PhD in bioinformatics. She also has a keen interest in STEM education, hoping to assist in spreading her passion for mathematics and the sciences to the next generation.

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Thomas Rogers Bassa Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Thomas is a software engineering student at ERAU, pursuing both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees simultaneously. He enjoys helping others fix software bugs and teaching small tricks to make one's work easier.

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Funded by National Science Foundation (NSF), Inspire-CT is exploring vertically integrated students teams to improve student learning and raise student interest in computing. We are leveraging the excitement of computing capstone design courses and real-world projects to attract more students to computing. The target audience includes less advanced computing students, students in other majors, and pre-college students who might choose to study software engineering or computer science. To date, we have concentrated on activities targeting freshmen, sophomore, and junior students in computing fields, college students who are pursuing non computing degrees, and high school and middle school students. In the last phase of the project we exposed high school students to real-world projects, as they integrate with professional software developers at the NextGeneration Applied Research (NEAR) Laboratory ( Twenty five students from high schools across the Volusia and Seminole county (Florida) were selected to come to NEAR lab and interact with NEAR lab staffs and students through fall 2014 and spring 2015 semester. During this time, students were given an opportunity to work one-on-one with the NEAR lab personnel on specific projects. They were also given an opportunity to shadow them while they are working on one of the current projects that are being conducted at the lab. Some of these projects are funded by Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA), Boeing Corporations, New York Port Authority, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), etc. The twenty five students were selected among seventy applicants, where each student has some exposure to programming (either through class work and/or outside classroom activities). During the fall and spring semester, the NEAR lab staffs monitor the performance of these students, and at the completion of the spring semester, ten student were selected to participate in a 10 weeks paid summer internship at the NEAR lab. During summer 2015, the ten invited students worked under the direct supervision of three NEAR lab staffs and two graduate students, developing an autonomous ground vehicle that will travel throughout university, following campus walkways, and transmitting video signal, representing vehicle surroundings to the home station. This paper will describe the project details including student selection process, nature of projects assigned to students, job shadowing at NEAR Lab, students learning experience, and a general guidelines for implementing similar project at other institutions.

Towhidnejad, M., & Spradlin, A., & Bassa, T. R. (2016, June), Software Industry Experience for High School Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25840

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