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Student Internships During Times of Pandemic: A Historical View of Pandemics, Recession and Their Effect on Education

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Construction Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Divisions

Architectural Engineering and Construction Engineering

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Paper Authors


Rachel Mosier P.E. Oklahoma State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Rachel Mosier is an Associate Professor at Oklahoma State University, with a background in structural engineering and project management. Dr. Mosier has received regional and international teaching awards through the Associated Schools of Construction. Research interests include the cost of sustainable construction to owners and engineering education.

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Heather N. Yates Oklahoma State University

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Dr. Yates joined the Oklahoma State University Construction Faculty in 2006 as an Assistant Professor. She received her Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology from the OSU Construction Management Department in 1998. She graduated with a Masters of Engineering Technology from Pittsburg State University in 2002. She also earned a Specialist in Education Degree from Pittsburg State University in 2006. In 2010 she was promoted to Associate Professor. She completed her Doctorate in Higher Education from OSU in 2012 where she focused her research on women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. She accepted the position as Program Coordinator of Construction Engineering Technology at OSU in 2013, and was promoted to Professor in 2020.

Dr. Yates began her teaching career at Pittsburg State University in 2002, and has taught numerous construction courses throughout her academic career including: Construction Drawings, Concrete Technology, Estimating I, Strength of Materials in Construction, Structures I, Construction Contracts, and Capstone courses. She received the Halliburton Excellent Young Teacher Award in 2008, and the CEAT Advisor of the Year in 2010. Dr. Yates served as the Associated Schools of Construction Region 5 Director from 2014-17, ASC International Secretary from 2018-20, and was named CMAA Educator of the Year in 2019. She was also Elected ASC International 2nd Vice-President.

She also enjoys sharing her passion for increasing the recruitment and retention of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math through local, national, and international presentations. Additionally, she speaks on charting your own path in college, navigating your future, teaching technology to the new generation, and international experiences.

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Sanjeev Adhikari Kennesaw State University

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Dr. Sanjeev Adhikari is faculty from Kennesaw State University. Previously he was faculty at Morehead State University from 2009 to 2016 and faculty at Purdue University – Indianapolis from 2016 to 2019. He has completed Ph.D. degree in civil engineering, focusing on construction management from Michigan Technological University in 2008. He has an extensive teaching background with a total of 18 years academic experience at five different universities. He has always been praised by students and department for his outstanding teaching and research excellence. To supplement his teaching and research, he has been involved in numerous professional societies, including ASCE, ACI, ASEE, ASC, ATMAE and TRB. His research output has been well disseminated as he has published thirty journal papers and thirty-nine conference papers. His research interests are 1) Creating Innovative Sustainable Materials, 2) Structural BIM Integration, 3) 4D/5D BIM, 4) Virtual Testing Lab, 5) Innovative Construction Demolition, and 6) Carbon Footprint Analysis on Roadways.

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Student Internships during Times of Pandemic; A historical view of pandemics, recession and their effect on education With the current pandemic, a potential recession is also occurring. Considering the “Great Recession” of 2007-2010, student enrollments went up while taxpayer support to public universities fell. Also associated with these changes was the increase in unemployment which correlates with the increase in enrollment. Non-traditional students (not typical recent high school graduates) return to college as jobs become more difficult to find. In a thorough review of the American Society of Engineering Education archives, there is little about any correlation between job placement and the Great Recession. Internships are a part of many construction, engineering and architecture degree programs. These might be mandatory for course credit or strongly encouraged, yet voluntary, during college. Internships may be mandatory for professional credentials after graduation. Little research is available to identify any correlation between internship placement and recessions. Although, anecdotal relationships between recessions and internships have been reported. With the current economic situation associated with the Covid pandemic, there is an opportunity to identify changes that occur in the construction industry. A thorough review of existing literature is performed. Additionally, a survey instrument was created. This research project surveys students seeking construction internships in the summer of 2020. Potential interns are asked about their experience this summer as compared to previous years. Students were also asked about the effect of the pandemic and economic changes on their internship experience. Additionally, students were asked to share additional thoughts.

Mosier, R., & Yates, H. N., & Adhikari, S. (2021, July), Student Internships During Times of Pandemic: A Historical View of Pandemics, Recession and Their Effect on Education Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37745

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