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The Impact of Veteran Students on the Academic Performance of Nonveteran Students

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Military and Veterans Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Military and Veterans

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Paper Authors


Patrick Bass The Citadel Orcid 16x16

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Patrick Bass is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Citadel, in Charleston, SC. He received his B.S. degree in aerospace engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL, in 2005, his M.E. degree in space operations from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO, in 2009, and his Ph.D. in materials engineering from Auburn University, Auburn, AL, in 2016. His main areas of research interest are electroactive polymers and space mechanics.

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Nathan John Washuta P.E. The Citadel Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Nathan Washuta is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Citadel in Charleston, SC. He received both his B.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Maryland – College Park. His primary research interests include Hydrodynamics, Turbulence, and Experimental Methods.

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Donald L. Price The Citadel

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I am a US Army veteran and now soon to be a Mechanical Engineer from the Citadel. I grew up in St. Augustine, Florida, and joined the Army in 2010 as a 25S- Satellite Communication Systems Operator-Maintainer. During that time, I was trained and received certifications in IT-related work and Fiber Optic communications. Additionally, I am starting grad school at Colorado School of Mines for Advanced Energy Systems in the Fall of 2020.

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This paper discusses the positive impact of veteran students on the academic performance of non-veteran mechanical engineering students when veterans are in their classes. This paper will highlight the successful results of a yearlong study of junior-level students after the completion of a two-semester course sequence in control systems. These results show the influence veterans have and how their military experience can benefit non-military students in their pursuit of an engineering degree.

Veteran students are highly regarded for their professionalism, maturity, and for setting the example both inside the classroom and out. In general, it is easy to see that a veteran presence in the classroom positively effects the performance of the other students in the course. This report, however, focuses on quantifying the effect of veteran students on the academic performance of their non-veteran counterparts.

This report will show how non-veteran performance was influenced as it relates to eight veteran students distributed across three sections of a first-semester, control-systems course versus their effect when all eight veterans were in a single section of the follow-on, second-semester, control-systems course. An analysis on the results of three exams and the final exam for both courses and the results show increased exam performance from one semester to the next relative to veteran student presence in a particular course section.

The results tracked individual performance of students as they transitioned to either a veteran-rich or a veteran-poor section from fall- to spring-semester courses. The study also investigated the performance of veteran students and their academic impact on the other veterans, themselves.

Bass, P., & Washuta, N. J., & Price, D. L. (2020, June), The Impact of Veteran Students on the Academic Performance of Nonveteran Students Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35335

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