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The Re-Energize Undergraduate Research Program at Our Community College

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Enhancing Student Success in Two-Year Colleges

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Dan G. Dimitriu San Antonio College

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Dan G. Dimitriu has been practicing engineering since 1970 and taught engineering courses concurrently for more than 20 years at various institutions. In 2001, he joined San Antonio College full-time as the Coordinator of its Engineering program and in 2004 he joined also the faculty at University of Texas at San Antonio as an adjunct professor. He has been involved with several engineering societies and became a member of the Two-year College Division of ASEE in 2002. His research interests are in alternative fuels, fuel cells, plastics, and engineering education.

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Klaus Bartels San Antonio College

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Klaus Bartels is an Adjunct Faculty member at San Antonio College (SAC) in both the Mathematics Department and the Physics/Engineering/Architecture Dept. He was born near Buenos Aires, Argentina and immigrated to the U.S. in 1956. He grew up and went to college in the Boston, MA area. He has a B.S.E.E. from Tufts University (1972) and an M.S.E.E. from M.I.T. (1975). He served as a Communications-Electronics Engineer/Officer in the USAF from 1975 to 1999, retiring as a colonel. He worked part time as a Flight Director at the Challenger Learning Center of San Antonio from 2000 to 2009, and has been teaching remedial math and engineering classes at SAC since 2000. He has also been involved in various engineering summer programs at SAC, including instructor for Robotics Camps for 3rd to 5th graders (2012 - 2014), instructor and coordinator for the Early Development of General Engineering program for high school students (2007 - present), and faculty adviser for Solar Undergraduate Research Programs (2011 - present). He is a faculty participant and student mentor in the 3-yr (2014 - 2017), DOE grant-funded ReEnergize renewable energy research and education partnership program .

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Steven F. Lewis William R. Sinkin Eco Centro, San Antonio College

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Bio: Steven Lewis- Manager of the William R. Sinkin Eco Centro sustainability outreach center of Alamo Colleges/San Antonio College (SAC).
Mr. Lewis came to San Antonio College (SAC) in 2006 after a private sector career of designing, implementing and managing workforce and sustainability training projects in developing nations. During that time, he and his wife founded the nonprofit corporation Tools for Development, which undertakes sustainable development projects in indigenous villages of Mexico. In late 2008, he presided over the initial strategy sessions for what is now the Alamo Colleges Green Initiative. He and his assistants now coordinate the many environmentally related events and activities that take place at Eco Centro, which serves as a demonstration center for solar energy use in our region. Undergraduate research projects at Eco Centro include plant growth experimentation in a containerized solar hydroponic project and comparison of worm bedding mixes used to create beneficial microorganisms through vermicomposting.

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Bahram Asiabanpour Texas State University

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Dr. Bahram Asiabanpour is an Associate Professor of Manufacturing Engineering at Texas State University and a Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE). He received his Ph.D. from the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California. His main research interest is Additive Manufacturing, Product Development, and Renewable Energy. Since joining Texas State, Dr. Asiabanpour has secured 27 externally funded projects from NSF, NASA, Toyota, USDA, DOE, and several local industries. He is currently the PI for the $614K grant from the DOE (2014-17), called “REENERGIZE: Recruitment and Retention of Students in STEM Programs through a Renewable Energy Research and Education Partnership with Five Minority Institutions.” He was the founding Editor In Chief of the American Journal of Engineering Education (AJEE), serving between 2010 and 2014. He is currently Editor In Chief of the International Journal of Rapid Manufacturing (IJRapidM).

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REENERGIZE is a network of renewable energy education and research labs fully contained and established at each of the four member institutions. The main goal of this collaborative effort is to share effective new green technology content and impart skills to faculty members of this network in order to strengthen their capacities and arm them with additional resources to support their efforts in recruiting and retaining students, and in particular minorities, in STEM programs offered at their institutions. Our two year college is part of this network and for at least three years will develop and implement new undergraduate research projects related to green technologies. As part of this partnership with its fellow Hispanic-Serving Institution, our college made a commitment to 1) encourage our STEM faculty to attend REENERGIZE professional development opportunities to learn and adopt green energy educational modules into our STEM curriculum over the next three years; 2) seek space to establish a "start-up green lab" on our campus with MSEIP pass through funding from the four-year institution so that faculty can conduct classroom demonstrations and our students can perform undergraduate research. This initiative is meant to diversify and continue our undergraduate research program and include our EcoCentro facility into this program. 3) promote additional related outreach and educational REENERGIZE efforts to support our students and encourage them to seek successful careers in STEM and green energy-related fields and to 4) participate in on-going evaluation and research efforts related to this program. Undergraduate research programs at four-year institutions have been widely reported to increase retention, and our results indicate that two-year institutions can also initiate successful programs. This paper will present in detail the results of the first year partnership between the two institutions to develop a new direction for summer undergraduate research programs at our community college, offer recommendations, and outline future plans.

Dimitriu, D. G., & Bartels, K., & Lewis, S. F., & Asiabanpour, B. (2016, June), The Re-Energize Undergraduate Research Program at Our Community College Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27001

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