July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Electrical and Computer
Increasingly, engineering students are expected to have a strong record of technical skills as well as professional development skills before they enter a globally competitive workforce. Typically, students attain these skills at the university through a myriad of ways, including coursework, student organizations, engagement with peers and faculty, and hands-on project experiences. The 2020 COVID Pandemic has hindered student experiences as many programs were cancelled or expected to move virtually. Particularly for transfer students, whose time-to-graduation is shorter than regular students, delays in acquiring these experiences can have drastic impacts on their ability to obtain internships and opportunities in the summer following their first year of university.
In this paper, we present a five-week summer internship preparatory program for electrical and computer engineering transfer students that addresses the internship preparatory needs of students in the time of COVID. The program was delivered virtually and provided a comprehensive experience of technical skill building (Python, electronics, machine learning, app development) and professional development (soft skills workshops, industry/alumni engagement, and campus resources). The program concluded with students presenting their final projects and submitting a project report. Top performing students received research internship opportunities provided by our faculty.
The program was successful meeting the primary target goals of (1) increasing student experiences on important technical skills, (2) increasing student professional development skills, and (3) providing students with opportunities to advance their careers. Results from the program are assessed by evaluations of the final project for technical skills and an assessment survey for professional skills. The students who completed the program demonstrated proficient command of material, as shown through their execution of the final project in the areas of machine learning, hardware and electronics, and app development.
For professional development, students were polled in the areas covered by the program before and after the program on a Likert scale to evaluate students’ self-efficacy. The results indicate significant improvement for various abilities such as: resume building, networking, communication, usage of campus resources, awareness of career paths, academic capabilities, and self-awareness in their areas of improvement to remain competitive for jobs.
In summary, we present our work on a summer internship preparatory program for electrical and computer engineering transfer students in the time of COVID. This program can potentially serve as a platform for other universities to approach virtual hands-on learning and internship preparation for their students despite limitations of virtual learning.
Truong, P., & Morris, K., & Stein, N., & Hsieh, K., & Patel, R. D., & Nafarifard, F., & Du, C., & Nguyen, K. T., & Nguyen, T. (2021, July), Virtual Technical and Professional Development Program for ECE Internship Preparation Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38027
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