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Strengthening Undergraduate Career Preparedness Through Multidisciplinary Research Projects

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Research and Multidisciplinary Experiences

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1406.1 - 26.1406.10



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Paper Authors


Rachel K. Anderson Clemson University

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Rachel Anderson is a doctoral student in Engineering and Science Education and the research assistant for Clemson University's Creative Inquiry program. Her research interests include multidisciplinary teams and career preparation. Rachel received a Master's of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University and a B.S. in Physics from Baldwin-Wallace University.

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Todd Schweisinger Clemson University

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Barbara Jean Speziale Clemson University

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Strengthening Undergraduate Career Preparedness through Multidisciplinary ResearchThis paper will introduce a novel research program at our university (names blinded for review)which provides a unique opportunity for undergraduate students at all stages of their academiccareers to engage in hands-on research. The [Name of Program] projects span the disciplinesand encourage multidisciplinary and student-centered projects. Over 450 projects are fundedeach semester by the university. Feedback from annual surveys of program participants andalumni suggests that undergraduate research projects like those in [Name of Program] allowstudents to gain valuable hands-on research experience, help prepare students for their futurecareers, and aid in the development of communication and leadership skills.This paper will explore the value of multidisciplinary, hands-on research within theundergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum by evaluating the student outcomes of a singleresearch project. A two year [Name of Program] project to develop a stabilization process forpediatric patient’s arms during venipuncture procedures began in Fall 2011. Mechanicalengineering, bioengineering, nursing, and marketing students collaborated to design the system,develop a prototype, demonstrate the process and device to medical professionals for assessmentand iterative improvements, and file for a provisional patent on their design.Interviews with both engineering and nursing students in this multidisciplinary undergraduateresearch project reveal that students developed leadership and communication skills, and theyfelt more prepared to follow their career path as a result of their participation. The perspective ofthe mechanical engineering faculty advisor for this project provides additional insights into theprogram’s impact on student learning as well as how this particular project fostered thedevelopment of communication and collaborative skills of each team member. Implications formultidisciplinary research as a supplement to traditional mechanical engineering education arediscussed.

Anderson, R. K., & Schweisinger, T., & Speziale, B. J. (2015, June), Strengthening Undergraduate Career Preparedness Through Multidisciplinary Research Projects Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24743

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