Asee peer logo

The Development of a Freshman Engineering Research Program

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Undergraduate Research and a Force and Moment Lab

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Michelle Audrey Pang Sandia National Laboratories


Carolyn Conner Seepersad University of Texas, Austin

visit author page

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

visit author page

author page

Sheldon Landsberger University of Texas, Austin, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Download Paper |


The incorporation of research opportunities in undergraduate engineering education provides students with early hands-on experiences that often influence retention rates and the likelihood of continued higher education. A new initiative at The University of Texas at Austin, the Freshman Introduction to Research in Engineering (FIRE) program, offers a select group of first-year students with an opportunity to participate in semester-long, faculty-sponsored mechanical engineering research and development projects. In addition to their research, students attend bi-weekly lectures that introduce them to various topics in mechanical engineering and current research in the field, the successes (and roadblocks) in engineering research and how to overcome them, and career opportunities in engineering. An end of semester poster session allows students to showcase their research results and describe opportunities for future work, encouraging continued involvement in research. Many FIRE students continue to participate in research after the program concludes and note that the program influenced their decision to attend UT and confirmed their interest in the field of mechanical engineering. The general structure of the FIRE program is documented in this paper. The paper also documents the impact of FIRE on student retention in the major, student participation in undergraduate research after the program ends, and student interest in graduate work in STEM fields.

Pang, M. A., & Seepersad, C. C., & Landsberger, S. (2017, June), The Development of a Freshman Engineering Research Program Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015