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The Impact of a Neuro-Engineering Research Experience for Undergraduates Site on Students’ Attitudes toward and Pursuit of Graduate Studies

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1537.1 - 26.1537.12



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Paper Authors


John D. Carpinelli New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Dr. John D. Carpinelli is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has served as coordinator of activities at NJIT for the Gateway Engineering Education Coalition and as a member of the Coalition’s Governing Board. He previously chaired NJIT’s Excellence in Teaching Awards Committee and is Past Chair of the University Master Teacher Committee.

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Linda S Hirsch New Jersey Institute of Technology


Raquel Perez-Castillejos New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Dr. Raquel Perez-Castillejos is an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Her research ( focuses on the development of tools for cell and tissue biology using micro- and nanotechnologies. Raquel obtained her Ph.D. with the National Center of Microelectronics in Barcelona. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Laboratory of Miniaturized Systems (Univ. São Paulo, Brazil) and later at Harvard University with the Whitesides group. Dr. Perez-Castillejos is co-director of the NSF-funded REU summer program for neuroengineering, coordinator of the new cross-campus, interdisciplinary minor in nanotechnology at NJIT, principal investigator of 2013 NSF Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education award, and faculty adviser for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at NJIT.

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The Impact of a Neuro-Engineering Research Experience for Undergraduates Site on Students’ Attitudes toward and Pursuit of Graduate StudiesThe benefits of undergraduate research programs have been well documented and are generallyaccepted within the engineering education community. Various survey instruments and metricshave been used to gauge the effectiveness of individual programs and undergraduate researchprograms in general. The proposed paper is an examination of the effectiveness of a three yearNSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates site focusing on Neuro-engineering.Since one of the goals of this REU site, and all undergraduate research programs at ourUniversity, is to encourage students to continue their education at the graduate level, theAttitudes toward Graduate Studies survey was developed to measure changes in students’opinions about graduate school and their plans to pursue or not pursue graduate studies as aresult of participating in an undergraduate research program. The survey has been validated andused for several years, both at this university and several other universities. The survey isadministered pre-post, at the beginning and end of each undergraduate research program.Pre-post responses from students who participated in the Neuro-Engineering REU site over thelast three years are compared to other measures including program follow up with students aftertheir research experience and the nationally-available Undergraduate Research Student Self-Assessment (URSSA) survey to identify areas of similarity and difference of results. A follow-upversion of the survey is used with all students who participated over the last three years to gaugethe longer term impacts of the program; for example, do students get a job in industry rightaway? Do they go straight to graduate school? Do they consider returning to graduate school ifthey work in industry? Additional post-graduation tracking is implemented to supplement theresults of the follow-up survey.

Carpinelli, J. D., & Hirsch, L. S., & Perez-Castillejos, R. (2015, June), The Impact of a Neuro-Engineering Research Experience for Undergraduates Site on Students’ Attitudes toward and Pursuit of Graduate Studies Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24874

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