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The First-year Experience in Biological Engineering at LSU

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Biological & Agricultural Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

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Paper Authors


Marybeth Lima Louisiana State University

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Marybeth is a Professor in Biological & Agricultural Engineering and Director of the LSU Center for Community Engagement, Learning and Leadership. She co-authored the textbook Service-Learning: Engineering in Your Community (Oxford University Press) with Bill Oakes and is the author of Building Playgrounds Engaging Communities: Creating Safe and Happy Places for Children (LSU Press).

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Nicholas Patrick Totaro Louisiana State University

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Nicholas Totaro graduated with a Master's in Biological and Agricultural Engineering at LSU under Dr. Daniel Hayes in 2015. Since 2016, Nick has been an instructor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. His teaching duties include both courses in the first year sequence, as well as instrumentation and machine design in biological engineering. Nick also serves as the Undergraduate Program Coordinator and the Advisor of the Biological Engineering Student Organization.

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The biological engineering program has been offering a 2-course sequence for first year students since 1994. The purpose of these courses is to introduce students to the discipline, to teach fundamental skills in engineering methods, calculations, designs, and computer aided designs, and to build a sense of community through team work, communication skills, and service-learning. The tremendous increase of students in the program has led to shifts in the 2-course sequence. This paper will present the 2-course sequence with a focus on recent changes to accommodate a higher student to faculty ratio, as well as course instructors working together to ensure a seamless transition between courses, including continuity in design projects. Specific changes include using peer mentors in large classes, a focus on career knowledge and skill building through these courses, and presenting the same human-centered design method across the courses.

Lima, M., & Totaro, N. P. (2018, June), The First-year Experience in Biological Engineering at LSU Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31101

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