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The Impact of Biomedical Engineering Research Experiences on Undergraduates Understanding of Research Practices and Career Trajectories

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

ERM Potpourri

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1308.1 - 25.1308.22



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Paper Authors

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Megan F. Campanile Illinois Institute of Technology


Eric M. Brey Illinois Institute of Technology

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Eric M. Brey is an Associate Professor of biomedical engineering and Director of Undergraduate Research.

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Allison Antink Meyer Illinois Institute of Technology

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Norman G. Lederman Illinois Institute of Technology

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The Impact of Biomedical Engineering Research Experiences onUndergraduates Understanding of Research Practices and CareerTrajectoriesMegan E. Faurot, Allison Antink Meyer, Norman G. Lederman, and Eric BreyThe National Science Foundation and many other institutions supportundergraduate research with an expected outcome of broadening participation incareers in science and engineering. Since 2008, the Illinois Institute ofTechnology has offered approximately 40 students from across the U.S theopportunity to participate in a summer Biomedical Engineering ResearchExperience for Undergraduates (REU) program. The goal of this program is toimmerse undergraduates in biomedical engineering laboratories to conductcutting-edge diabetes research in an effort to influence their long-term interests inscience and engineering. The program is also intended to inform theundergraduate students’ understandings about research design and practice. Inthis study, the program’s influence on these types of understandings and itspotential impact on their career choices was explored. Pre- and post-Likert andopen-ended survey items were coupled with a content test and semi-structuredinterviews to examine the extent to which the program goals were met. Dataanalysis of the pre- and post-survey items that focused on career and researchtopics related to the program goals were on average above 4 on a 5-point Likertscale suggesting that the students had high expectations of the program initiallyand that these expectations were met upon program completion. Findings relatedto how the program influenced the participants fell into three main categories:conceptions of science versus engineering, understandings about the process ofresearch development and practice, and career and graduate school decisions.The implications of these findings include a framework that might directly informthe revision and improvement of REU programs that aim to influence theretention of participants in STEM careers. In addition, REU programs also havethe potential to improve undergraduate students’ informed conceptions ofscience and engineering research design and practice early on in their careertrajectories.

Campanile, M. F., & Brey, E. M., & Antink Meyer, A., & Lederman, N. G. (2012, June), The Impact of Biomedical Engineering Research Experiences on Undergraduates Understanding of Research Practices and Career Trajectories Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22065

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