June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Multidisciplinary Engineering and Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
The professionalism of engineering students is central to professional success. Achieving this objective requires integrating training across hard science skills and softer communication and management acumen to prepare students for the workplace. The challenge becomes providing effective professional development experiences within engineering programs. An interdisciplinary approach to summer engineering education programs – such as Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs) – can address such factors. This paper presents a pilot study that assesses how an interdisciplinary summer REU program provided STEM students with professional development training as they also enhanced their knowledge of research practices in biomedical engineering.
This paper describes an REU program funded by the National Science Foundation's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) program, Track-2 Focused EPSCoR Collaborations (FEC) under the grant _____. The project involves _____ collaborating institutions:_____. The _____ REU is a parallel summer program for undergraduate students, and its primary focuses is providing STEM undergraduate students with the opportunities to collaborate on brain science research related to neuronal networks in epilepsy and memory.
A secondary focus involved providing students with different professional development opportunities via workshops that focus on soft skills in engineering (e.g., writing, usability testing, behavioral research). These topics were addressed via dedicated 2-3 hour workshops scheduled throughout the REU. For these workshops, instructors from other disciplines (e.g., technical writing and psychology) provided focused instruction in a soft-skill area (e.g., resume writing, fundamentals of usability testing). These sessions involved applying concepts students learned in lab-based REU activities as the subject for teaching different soft skills. The objective was to provide students with an integrated educational experience to help them understand how such factors co-exist in engineering as a profession. This paper reports a pilot study involving data collected from participants in the first two summer cohorts of the _____ REU (10 participants total). The question guiding this project is: To what extent do STEM students participating in integrated summer REU program believe this approach provided them with effective training in hard and soft skills essential to contributing in the epilepsy research space? Two sub-questions the pilot examine are, based on student perceptions, 1) What aspects of this integrated program were effective and should be continued for future REU programs? and 2) What aspects of this integrated program were ineffective and need revision within the context of this program?
The pilot study used questionnaires and interviews to collect data on the perceptions former REU students had of this integrated approach to REUs. The authors will use this data to suggest how this topic might be explored via future research and discuss the implications this of this pilot study for using integrated instructional approaches to provide STEM students with professional development training.
Evans, K., & St.Amant, K. (2019, June), Structure of Professional Components for a Multidisciplinary REU Program Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33287
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