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Transforming the Culture of Internship Experiences through Social Learning Communities

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

CEED Paper Session 2: Leveraging Internships and Experiential Learning in Higher Education

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/p.27079

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27079

Download Count

242

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Paper Authors

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Lisa Massi University of Central Florida

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Dr. Lisa Massi is the Director of Operations Analysis for Accreditation, Assessment, & Data Administration in the College of Engineering & Computer Science at the University of Central Florida. She is Co-PI of two NSF-funded S-STEM grants and program evaluator for two NSF-funded REU programs. Her research interests include factors that impact student persistence and career development in the STEM fields.

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Jenna Christie-Tabron University of Central Florida

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Ms. Jenna Christie-Tabron is the Program Assistant for a NSF-funded S-STEM program at the University of Central Florida. She is responsible for tracking the students' progress throughout the program and assists with coordinating events for the students and staff members. She also has a Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy and is obtaining a Master's in Social Work.

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Michael Georgiopoulos University of Central Florida

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Michael Georgiopoulos received the Diploma in EE from the National Technical University in Athens, his MS degree and Ph.D. degree in EE from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, in 1981, 1983 and
1986, respectively. He is currently a Professor in the Department of ECE at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL. From September 2011 to June 2012 he served as the Interim Assistant Vice President of Research at the Office of Research and Commercialization. He served as the Interim Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science from July 2012 to May 2013 and as the dean from May 2013 to present.

His research interests lie in the areas of Machine Learning and applications with special emphasis on neural network and neuro-evolutionary algorithms, and their applications. He has published more than 70 journal papers and more than 180 conference papers in a variety of conference and journal venues. He has been an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks from 2002 to 2006, and an Associate Editor of the Neural Networks journal from 2006 to 2012. He has served as the Technical Co-Chair of the IJCNN 2011.

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Mari Pina University of Central Florida

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Mari Pina is the Director of Employer Partnerships and Internship Placements for the CAMP-YES Internship Program and IT Certifications Program. She is responsible for tracking student and employer communication, recruitment and placement along with tracking the progress of the student's experiences YES Internship Program. Ms. Pina is a doctoral candidate and her research interests include engineering student soft-skills gap and self-efficacy as relevant employability skills.

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Richard Allan Quinn University of Central Florida

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Richard Quinn, CBC

Mr. Quinn joined the Management faculty of the University of Central Florida’s College of Business Administration in 1999 after retiring from a successful 27-year career at Eastman Kodak Company. Mr. Quinn currently serves as an Associate Instructor and teaches Management Strategy, Technological Entrepreneurship, New Venture Finance, and New Venture Implementation at the college. Mr. Quinn is a founding member of UCF’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, and serves as the internship and entrepreneurship mentor for the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences undergraduate Young Entrepreneurs and Scholars grant programs.

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Jackie Herold University of Central Florida

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Ms. Herold has over 20 years experience in the workforce development arena by creating academic and industry partnerships as part of her role with the Office of Experiential Learning. After earning her M.A. in Human Resource Management, Ms.Herold spent several years in the human resources field with an emphasis in recruitment and selection. From there she launched into the workforce development initiative by creating academic and industry partnerships designed to align student education with the needs of the business community. Identifying the relevant skills and knowledge needed by industry and then providing students with internships, cooperative education and other work based learning programs has been the cornerstone in preparing our students for successful transition to the workplace.

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Kim A. Small University of Central Florida

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Kim Small is the Director of Academic Support Services for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. She holds a BS in Business Administration and a MA in Educational Leadership. She joined the University of Central Florida in 1995 and has served in various advising roles for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. She is responsible for coordinating the student support services for undergraduate and graduate students. She is also responsible for running the college retention programs. Mrs. Small’s interests lie in the areas of retention and transition of freshmen and transfer students. She has been honored with advising awards from UCF and a NACADA Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Advising Program. Mrs. Small serves as the advisor for the NSF S-STEM program entitled, “Young Entrepreneur and Scholar (YES) Scholarship Program.”

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Abstract

Research studies on undergraduate students’ participation in internships and co-operative education have primarily focused on career outcomes (job offers, higher salaries), skill outcomes (technical, team, and communication skills), and personal outcomes (self-efficacy, career paths). Fewer studies have investigated how the social structure (such as a community of practice) contributes to engineering identity formation. This study examined the most-memorable individual and collective group experiences that undergraduate student interns constructed from their participation in social learning activities in a sponsored program. Using a convenience sample of 45 students participating in a sponsored program in the College of Engineering & Computer Science at a large public university, students were asked to write down their “best program memory.” This question was left open-ended so that students could respond with individual values they ascribed to their experiences. The remaining six questions on the questionnaire provided further details for three selected case study narratives illuminating the students’ holistic perspective on their program experience.

A distinguishing feature of the program was the value-added activities offered with the purpose of creating a social learning community involving interns, industry professionals, faculty, and support staff. Value-added program activities included Socials, Distinguished Speaker Series, and an annual Symposium. These activities reflect the integration of varied communities of practice (in this case, the business world and the academic world) that comprise the social learning system of the student intern. Twenty-seven percent (n=12/45) of the respondents specifically referenced one or more of the three value-added program activities as a memorable experience: Socials, Distinguished Speaker Series, or Symposium. The annual Symposium was the most frequently mentioned event. Of the remaining respondents, 24% (n=11/45) referenced the relationship with their industry mentor as the most memorable experience; 44% (n = 20/45) referenced some aspect of their internship, primarily related to their assigned project; and 4% (2/45) had just begun their internship. Participation in one or more of these three activities was related to enjoyment in shared learning experiences, commitment to the major, confidence-building, and feeling welcomed into the community. Relationship-building activities and experiences seemed to have had the most impact on women and first generation college students in creating a welcoming environment to the engineering community. Recommendations for internship and co-operative education practitioners in establishing social learning communities are included in the paper.

Massi, L., & Christie-Tabron, J., & Georgiopoulos, M., & Pina, M., & Quinn, R. A., & Herold, J., & Small, K. A. (2016, June), Transforming the Culture of Internship Experiences through Social Learning Communities Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27079

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