June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Cooperative & Experiential Education
24.1279.1 - 24.1279.22
Transforming Undergraduate STEM Summer Internships in a Federal Government Institution for 21st Century Engineering CareersAbstractThis paper describes first steps to transform all internships in the undergraduate STEM SummerResearch Program in the federal government at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) toprepare students for engineering careers in the 21st century. AFIT is a government institution ofhigher education within the Air Force. Over 40 students participate annually and performresearch in all six engineering departments at the AFIT Graduate School of Engineering andManagement. These are the departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Electrical andComputer Engineering, Engineering Physics, Mathematics and Statistics, Operational Sciences,and Systems Engineering and Management.First, starting in summer 2012, a formal assessment tool is now distributed to students tomeasure the impact of the research experience. Second, starting in summer 2013, students arenow provided with four career broadening programs that are informed by student survey resultsin 2012. These programs are made possible through a partnership among AFIT, the LEADER(Launching Equity in the Academy across the Dayton Entrepreneurial Region) Consortium, andthe Southwestern Ohio Consortium for Higher Education (SOCHE). The partnership assesses thestudents’ experiences and informs future experiences based upon the results of student surveys.SOCHE has employed nearly 1,000 STEM students in the past 25 years.Feedback was sought in 2012 from the 48 participating students to improve all internships in theSummer Research Program in order to help prepare engineering student interns for work in the21st century. In response to the feedback, four new voluntary program components were madeavailable to all students in the 2013 Program. Because of government restrictions, studentparticipation is voluntary. The components are: (A) A joint orientation process with SOCHE andAFIT Project Leaders; (B) Student cohorts through social activities and STEM-based games; (C)A weekly seminar meeting with outside presentations of general interest, such as job-hunting,resume-writing, information about scholarships and fellowships, and the process to apply tograduate school; and (D) A Poster Session so that students present the engineering experiencesthey have gained. A poster competition was held to select the best student posters, and selectedstudents were awarded “Posters of Excellence” Certificates.In 2013, SOCHE again implemented an assessment tool in an effort to better understand theneeds of the 43 participating students. Of these students, 10 students had also participated in the2012 program (repeat participation rate of nearly 25%). SOCHE asked all 43 students tocomplete a pre survey when the program was in session (response rate: 33%) and a post surveyfollowing the program (response rate: 16%). Post survey responses are favorable to the careerbroadening programs. Student participation in the 12 one-hour weekly events was nearly 100%in the joint orientation and 13% in the other events.This paper will describe the importance of the four new career-broadening components totransform the internships at AFIT to prepare students for engineering careers in the 21st century.Additional results and findings of the assessment of the 2013 Summer Research Program will bediscussed, and the results and findings will be compared with results from the 2012 Program.
Lanzerotti, M. Y., & Varga, M., & Creighton, S. J., & Langley, D., & Cahill, D. L., & Martin, R. K. (2014, June), Transforming Undergraduate STEM Summer Internships in a Federal Government Institution for 21st Century Engineering Careers Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/23212
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