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Tiered Mentorship Experiences in Biomedical Engineering Programs: A Case Study of Collaborations between Undergraduates and High School Students

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Innovations in Pedagogy

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1263.1 - 24.1263.11



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Paper Authors


Catherine Langman Illinois Institute of Technology

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Catherine Langman is a graduate student in applied mathematics at the Illinois Institute of Technology. She is currently a research assistant on a tissue engineering project. She holds a B.S. in applied mathematics from the Illinois Institute of Technology and is a certified secondary mathematics teacher in the State of Illinois. She enjoys working with middle and high school students.

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Eric M. Brey Illinois Institute of Technology

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Professor Eric Brey is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering and co-Director of Distinctive Education in the Armour College of Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

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Judith S. Zawojewski Illinois Institute of Technology

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Dr. Zawojewski received her B.S. Ed. from Northwestern University, M.S. Ed. from National College of Education (now National-Louis University) and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She recently retired as Associate Professor Emerita from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and in semi-retirement joined the University of Chicago Center for Elementary Science and Mathematics Education as a Senior Curriculum Developer. She recently served on the Board of Directors for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and on the Editorial Panel for Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. She has published in numerous teaching and research journals, and written books and book chapters for both mathematics and engineering educators. In addition, Dr. Zawojewski has long been active in writing curriculum related to problem solving. mathematical modeling, and performance assessment. Dr. Zawojewski is especially interested in the role of modeling and problem solving in developing mathematical capabilities, and in enhancing mathematics education for all students.

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Tiered Mentorship Experiences in Biomedical Engineering Programs: A Case Study of Collaborations between Undergraduates and High School StudentsStudent engagement in STEM fields can occur through exposure to leading-edge research in thefield of interest, researching or contributing to the research of others within the field, andcommunicating that research to others outside of the field. Mentorship is one way to help bothstudents and mentors maintain engagement in these fields. Though some research exists aboutmentorship between professors and undergraduates, understanding of the relationship betweenundergraduates who mentor high school students is less developed.This study reports on a tiered-mentorship program within a biomedical engineering summerundergraduate research experience. Undergraduates in the research experience and high schoolstudents in a summer engineering-themed enrichment program were linked for a week-longprogram-within-a-program via a tiered structure, whereby the undergraduates acted as temporarymentors to the high school students. The two groups collaborated to produce activities for middleschool students. In this program, the undergraduates communicated their summer researchexperiences and broader educational experiences to the high school students. This included labtours, model experiments, a field trip to a topically-relevant museum, and activities that werecollaboratively created by the undergraduates and high schools students. Finally, theundergraduates and high school students visited an area summer program for middle schoolstudents to present their activities and teach the middle school students about engineering.This study was the result of a combined effort between a National Science Foundation-fundedResearch Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program at a university in the Midwest and asummer engineering-themed program for high school students entering 11th and 12th grade in thesame city. Three separate data sources were analyzed in this study. Pre- and post-programsurveys and semi-structured interviews were administered to the REU students in the 2012 and2013 REUs. A post-program survey and semi-structured interviews were administered to thehigh school students after the conclusion of the 2013 Summer Program. The results of thesesurveys and interviews will be presented.

Langman, C., & Brey, E. M., & Zawojewski, J. S. (2014, June), Tiered Mentorship Experiences in Biomedical Engineering Programs: A Case Study of Collaborations between Undergraduates and High School Students Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23196

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