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The Industry Scholars Program: An Immersive Professional Experience for Undergraduates

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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

College Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

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Paper Authors


Breanne Przestrzelski University of San Diego

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Bre Przestrzelski, PhD, is a post-doctoral research associate in the General Engineering department in the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, where she seeks to innovatively integrate social justice, humanitarian advancement, and peace into the traditional engineering canon.

Before joining USD in August 2017, Bre spent 9 years at Clemson University, where she was a three-time graduate of the bioengineering program (BS, MS, and PhD), founder of The Design & Entrepreneurship Network (DEN), and Division I rower. In her spare time, Bre teaches design thinking workshops for higher education faculty/administrators at the Stanford d.School as a University Innovation Fellow, coaches a global community of learners through IDEO U, and fails miserably at cooking.

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Chell A. Roberts University of San Diego

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Chell A. Roberts is the founding dean of the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering at the University of San Diego.
Before joining USD, Roberts served as the Executive Dean of the College of Technology and Innovation at Arizona State University.

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Leonard A. Perry University of San Diego

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Dr. Leonard Perry (ISE) has research interests in the area of system improvement via quality improvement methods especially in the area of applied statistics, statistical process control, and design of experiments. Dr. Perry consults, instructs, and collaborates on quality improvement projects with representatives from biotech, health care, defense, and traditional manufacturing institutions. He has been an instructor for the Six Sigma Black belt training at the Six Sigma Institute for three years. He is a UCSD Certified Six-Sigma Master Black-Belt and an ASQ Certified Quality Engineer.

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The Industry Scholars Program: An Immersive Professional Experience for Undergraduates

A goal of our NSF-funded Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments (RED) Grant is to infuse professional skills into students and to enhance the capacity of faculty to help teach those skills. One of our approaches to accomplish this goal was to elicit the help of the school advisory board.

The Industry Advisory Board is comprised of representatives from top companies in engineering consulting, mobility, energy, computing, engineering design, and health care; all of which saw an immediate need for the development of this program. After a briefing on the RED grant, the advisory board developed the Industry Scholars Program (ISP) that targets at first and second year engineering students. The industry led ISP brings together a cohort of students, faculty and industry to address professional skills and development focusing on many of the gaps between formal education and the workplace that industry experiences. In addition, the program provides internship and mentoring opportunities for these students.

The year-long program, which was first launched in Spring 2017, is segmented into three terms: (1) Spring (2) Summer, and (3) Fall. The spring term introduced the first cohort of Industry Scholars to professional skills such as teamwork, emotional intelligence, and communication in a series of experiential workshops. The summer term afforded students an opportunity to use the technical skills acquired in their classes with the professional skills acquired in their spring workshops through an industry internship. Students engaged in this internship for the majority of the summer months, following which the students were required to present their internship experience and reflect on how the ISP impacted their summer professional experience. The third and final term of the first ISP cohort has recently launched and aims to expose students to additional professional skills through workshops similar to those from the Spring, but also through industry tours/visits that provide students an experiential look at other companies outside that which they experienced during the summer.

This paper discusses the structure of the ISP, the developed programmatic elements, the internship result, and an evolving mentoring program. Also presented is a survey conducted by the industry board on the students and a survey of industry conducted by an external evaluation team.

Przestrzelski, B., & Roberts, C. A., & Perry, L. A. (2018, June), The Industry Scholars Program: An Immersive Professional Experience for Undergraduates Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31112

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