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The CASCADE Experience: An Innovative Cascaded Peer-Mentoring Project

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Edifying Engineering Education through Multidisciplinary Efforts

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Nael Barakat P.E. Texas A&M University, Kingsville

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Dr. Nael Barakat is a professor of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at Texas A&M University - Kingsville. He is a registered professional engineer in Ontario, Canada, and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). His areas of interest include Controls, Robotics, Automation, Systems dynamics and Integration, Mechatronics and Energy Harvesting, as well as Engineering Ethics, professionalism, and Education.
Dr. Barakat is currently the immediate past chair of the ASEE Ethics Division.

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David Ramirez Texas A&M University, Kingsville

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Dr. David Ramirez is a tenured Associate Professor of the Department of Environmental Engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK). He is the graduate coordinator of the doctoral program in environmental engineering. He has served as the Director of the Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology – Research on Environmental Sustainability in Semi-Arid Coastal Areas, Interim Executive Director of the Eagle Ford Shale Center for Research, Education and Outreach, and program coordinator of several TAMUK’s education programs including the NSF-Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Talent Expansion Program, and the EPA-Multidisciplinary Approach to Educate and Train Undergraduate Students in Air Pollution Issues of the U.S.-Mexico Border Region. Currently, he is a co-principal investigator of the STEP-1B CASCADE program.

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Selahattin Ozcelik Texas A&M University, Kingsville

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Dr. Ozcelik received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering from Istanbul Technical University (1988) and Texas A&M University-Kingsville (1992), respectively. He then received the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering, with an emphasis in control theory, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 1996. Dr. Ozcelik was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Idaho State University (ISU) from 1996 to 1997. He is currently professor of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Dr. Ozcelik's teaching and research interests are in the fields of systems theory and controls, robust and adaptive control, robotics, mobile robots, UAVs, intelligent control.

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John Austin McCoy Texas A&M University, Kingsville

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Mr. John Austin McCoy is the Director of the Javelina Engineering Student Success Center at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He has over 8 years experience in student services to include academic advising, undergraduate degree audits, and scholarship coordination. Mr. McCoy serves on multiple student success committees and works with other grants.

Address: Javelina Engineering Student Success Center, MSC 155, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX 78363 Phone (361)593-2799 Email

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Aws Al-Shalash


Jong-Won Choi Texas A&M University, Kingsville

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Jong-Won Choi
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering
Texas A&M University-Kingsville
MSC 194, 700 University Blvd
Kingsville, TX 78363, USA
(361) 593-2025,

(a) Professional Preparation
Korea University Seoul/Korea Civil Engineering B.S. 1998
Korea University Seoul/Korea Geotechnical Engineering M.S. 2000
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA Civil/Geotech. Engr. M.S. 2003
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA Civil/Geotech. Engr. Ph.D. 2011

(b) Appointments
2014-Current Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University—Kingsville
2011-2014 Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Texas at Austin
2008-2011 Research Scientist Associates, University of Texas at Austin
2001-2008 Graduate Research Assistant, Georgia Institute of Technology
1998-2000 Graduate Research Assistant, Korea University, Korea

(c) Products
Most closely related publication
• Choi, J.-W., Duncan, I.J., and Rodin, G.J., Microcrack nucleation in porous solids under predominantly compressive stress state with applications to shale gas exploration, Proceedings of the 46th US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, Chicago, IL, USA June, 2012.

Other significant publications
• Choi, J.–W., Germanovich, L.N., Murdoch, L.C., and, Castle, J.W., 2016, Pressure transients to characterize cavities dissolved for natural gas storage, Journal of Natural Gas Science & Engineering, 33, 611-623
• Choi, J.–W., Nicot, J.-P., Hosseini, S.A., Clift, S.J., and Hovorka, S.D., 2013, CO2 Recycling Accounting and EOR Operation Scheduling to Assist in Storage Capacity Assessment at a U.S. Gulf Coast Depleted Reservoir, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 18, 474-484.
• Nicot, J.-P., Oldenburg, C.M., Houseworth, J.E., and Choi, J.-W., 2013, Analysis of potential leakage pathways at the Cranfield, MS, U.S.A. CO2 sequestration site, International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 18, 388-400.
• Hosseini, S.A., H. Lashgari., Choi, J.–W., J.-P. Nicot, J. Lu, and S.D. Hovorka, 2013, Static and dynamic reservoir modeling for geological CO2 sequestration at Cranfield, Mississippi, U.S.A., International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 18, 449-462.
• Choi, J.-W., Nicot, J.-P., Meckel, T.A., and Hovorka, S.D., Numerical modeling of CO2 injection into a typical U.S. Gulf of Coast anticline structure: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (GHGT-10), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, September 19-23, 2010.

(d) Synergistic Activities
• Recipient of best author award in the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin in 2014
• Completion of a triaxial test machine training offered by GCTS testing systems at the University of Texas at Austin 2014
• Graduate coordinator in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering at the Texas A&M University-Kingsville since 2015

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The CASCaded Mentoring and Design Experiences (CASCADE) program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) aims at increasing the quantity, quality, and diversity of TAMUK students who successfully earn an engineering baccalaureate degree. This goal is achieved through engaging engineering students in design exercises and experiences throughout their academic undergraduate careers. The CASCADE project provides student support in an innovative configuration of cascaded peer-mentoring. This program exposes freshman students to the engineering design process with vertically aligned design experiences through the sophomore and junior year. Cascading vertically, undergraduate seniors mentor juniors, juniors mentor sophomores, and sophomores mentor freshmen. The objectives of the CASCADE project are to 1) infuse concepts of the design process across all four levels of the engineering undergraduate curriculum (i.e., freshman through senior), 2) increase first-year, second-year, and third-year retention of engineering undergraduate students to 78%, 68%, 62%, respectively, and 3) raise the 6-year engineering undergraduate graduation rate to 54%. This STEP 1-B project funded by the National Science Foundation has been piloted in three undergraduate engineering programs at TAMUK, particularly in the baccalaureate programs of mechanical, civil, and environmental engineering. The incorporation of engineering design experiences across the undergraduate curriculum has contributed to increased student retention and persistence to graduation within 6 years. The CASCADE project has been implemented in three freshman courses (UNIV 1101, AEEN 1310, MEEN 1310), four sophomore courses (CEEN 2301, MEEN 2302, EVEN 2371, AEEN 1320), and five junior courses (CEEN 3311, CEEN 3145, MEEN 3348, CEEN 3392, and MEEN 3392). The average first-year, second-year, and third-year retention percentages of undergraduate students in the above courses were 79% (range of 63-94%), 73% (47-91%), and 62% (47-76%), respectively. These retention values are exceeding the expected values and the actual retention rates values for the corresponding engineering departments. The average six-year graduation rate for the targeted courses was 85.6% which is about 1.6 times larger than the expected six-year graduation rate. It is expected that this cascading peer mentoring program will serve as a model to benefit other engineering programs. Involvement of engineering faculty researchers has helped to connect research to undergraduate education and theory to relevant design experiences linked to industry problems.

Barakat, N., & Ramirez, D., & Ozcelik, S., & McCoy, J. A., & Al-Shalash, A., & Choi, J. (2017, June), The CASCADE Experience: An Innovative Cascaded Peer-Mentoring Project Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28948

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