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The Role of Mentorship in Student Preparation for Impactful Internships

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 5

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Paper Authors


Tim Dallas Texas Tech University

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Tim Dallas, PhD is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas Tech University. Dr. Dallas’ research includes developing MEMS-based education and research tools. Currently, he is working with colleagues in the College of Education on the development of an education portal, Classroom on a Chip, and the Solar Powered Digital Classroom in a Box (SPDCB). The SPDCB technology has been deployed to off-the-grid locations in Africa, Asia, and Central America to provide much needed educational content to entire classrooms using picoprojectors. In 2008, he established Class on a Chip, Inc. to commercialize an array of micro-experimental devices for use in engineering, physics, and MEMS classes. In 2014, he established a new class in the Whitacre College of Engineering, Technology Start-up Lab, which takes students through a process to develop their own technology projects for commercialization. Each summer, he teaches a class entitled Solar Energy, which includes a hands-on solar energy design project.
Dr. Dallas has served as the principal investigator for two National Science Foundation sponsored Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) projects, a Research Experience for Undergraduates Site, a Course Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) project, and a number of other research and equipment grants from NSF. He has also been funded by the Keck and Welch Foundations for MEMS-based education technologies. He served for three years as an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Education. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and a Fellow of TTU’s STEM-CORE.

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Heather Greenhalgh-Spencer Texas Tech University

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Heather Greenhalgh-Spencer, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas Tech University. Her research emerges at the intersection of Educational Technology, Pedagogical Innovation, and Diversity and Equity Issues. She is involved in research and outreach projects that deploy digital technology for increased STEM engagement and enhanced learning outcomes in both local classrooms and in developing nations. She is particularly interested in the ways that embodiment, materiality, and local forces shape the ways we think about, use, and learn with digital technologies. Greenhalgh-Spencer explores practices of using technology and pedagogical innovation to create engaged learning in both formal and informal learning spaces, and in both national and global contexts. She explores diversity and equity issues in the STEM pipeline, and also researches embodied and transdisciplinary learning practices that increase engagement for underrepresented populations in STEM courses. Greenhalgh-Spencer also researches blended / personalized learning (BL/PL) and the ways that BL/PL can create diverse pathways and increased opportunities for all students

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Kelli Frias

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Kelli Frias is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Kogod School of Business. She joined the Marketing faculty this Fall. Dr. Frias received her Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Arizona with a minor in law. Her research interests include issues of marketing strategy, innovation, and interfirm relationships. Specifically, she studies intellectual property strength and its impact on startups’ technology commercialization strategy, technology, and risk assessments for startups seeking angel investment, and the influence of policy on value chain relationships. She is an Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Fellow and recipient of several National Science Foundation and VentureWell Foundation awards. Her teaching interests include marketing strategy, brand management, and marketing and law. She has worked in grocery retail and labor relations.

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Engineering students are particularly interested in attaining internships prior to completing their undergraduate studies. It is generally acknowledged that internships provide critical insight into the nature and demands of engineering roles. However, pre-internship students tend to be apprehensive about how to prepare for the internship opportunity and how to excel when in the position. Students enrolled in a Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) program have both a faculty mentor and an industry mentor, that are important components of a process to infuse intrapreneurial competencies (i.e., entrepreneurship within established firms), in addition to the discipline-specific knowledge and skills provided by an engineering education. The research presented in this paper analyzes data from the students’ perspectives as well as mentors’ perspectives to better understand how the mentoring experience shapes readiness for internships, as well as readiness for employment or further education. Our findings suggest that both students and mentors perceive the mentorship process to be highly beneficial.

Dallas, T., & Greenhalgh-Spencer, H., & Frias, K. (2022, August), The Role of Mentorship in Student Preparation for Impactful Internships Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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