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The Impact of Multidisciplinary Teams on Sustainability Projects in EPICS

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Engineering Design I

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


Stephanie M. Gillespie Arizona State University

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Stephanie Gillespie joined the EPICS@ASU program after finishing her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She has extensive experience in K-12 outreach and curriculum development, and is passionate about giving students opportunities to make a difference throughout their academic career. As the EPICS Director of Instruction, Stephanie leads the EPICS program’s curriculum development, EPICS-Community College program, and program assessment efforts. She received her MSECE from Georgia Tech and her BSEE from the University of Miami.

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Mark Vincent Huerta Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus

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Mark Huerta is a PhD candidate in the Engineering Education Systems & Design program at Arizona State University (ASU). He earned his BS and MS in Biomedical Engineering, both from ASU. He is the Co-Founder & Chairman of 33 Buckets, a non-profit that provides sustainable clean water access in the developing world. Mark has experiences as a researcher, social
entrepreneur, engineer, teacher, and higher education program manager.

Mark’s research interests revolve around developing engineers capable of leading and enacting positive change on their communities. His research explores the topics of entrepreneurial mindset, innovation, well-being, leadership, interpersonal skills, and other 21st century competencies. Mark has experiences in teaching and mentoring engineering students in human-centered design, social entrepreneurship, humanitarian engineering, leadership, and

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Jared Joseph Schoepf Arizona State University

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Jared Schoepf is the Director of Operations for Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) at Arizona State University. Jared received his PhD in Chemical Engineering at ASU, developing a tiered approach to rapidly detect nanomaterials in the environment and consumer products. Jared has been a lecturer of EPICS for 4 years, mentoring over 200 teams. Currently he teaches introduction to engineering, EPICS, and chemical engineering courses. He has founded 2 starts ups and has 3 patents for water purification, removal of trash from storm water, and antibacterial liquid hand soap formula. He has a passion for teaching and mentoring students, aiming to help each student achieve their goals

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Joshua Loughman Arizona State University

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Joshua Loughman is a Lecturer for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. He is the Director of Development for the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program. His research interests are in engineering education, sustainable engineering, and science and technology studies.

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The Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program is a service-learning program founded by Purdue University in 1995 and is now an active part of the Arizona State University curriculum. Compared to traditional service learning, EPICS differs by implementing student learning through design projects with real community partners, multidisciplinary teams, industry mentors, and projects that span multiple semesters with potentially new student teams every semester. In this work, the multidisciplinary team factor is examined due to the potential benefits and challenges of supporting multidiscipline teams in an academic curriculum. While multidisciplinary project-based learning and multidisciplinary service-learning are not new ideas, rarely is the team composition considered in relation to the impacts to student learning and perception.

This work examines the experiences of three multidisciplinary, sustainability focused teams providing solutions for use and education in communities considered food-deserts. The three team structures vary in degree of multidisciplinary composition, one of the EPICS differentiators. Students were asked to define multidisciplinary teams and then reflect on their own team experiences and team compositions. Transcripts of focus group interviews with current and previous student team members were analyzed to determine the extent to which multidisciplinary composition of the student teams impacted student perceptions of project success, skills acquired, and overall team environment.

To complement the student perspectives, faculty perspectives regarding supporting multidisciplinary teams in the EPICS program were also collected through a roundtable discussion. Results of a roundtable and SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis are included and discussed. This paper reports the results of the student-focused and faculty-focused analysis of multidisciplinary EPICS teams and plans for further work.

Gillespie, S. M., & Huerta, M. V., & Schoepf, J. J., & Loughman, J. (2019, June), The Impact of Multidisciplinary Teams on Sustainability Projects in EPICS Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33397

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