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Virtual Technical and Professional Development Program for ECE Internship Preparation

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38027

Download Count

120

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Paper Authors

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Phuong Truong University of California, San Diego Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-0420-4575

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Phuong Truong is currently a fifth year PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego. Following her passion for research and education, she has worked closely with faculty at the Jacobs School of Engineering since 2016 to develop and improve curriculum for experiential learning courses. Her areas of focus include experiential learning, curriculum design, outreach program design, and engineering leadership.

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Karcher Morris University of California, San Diego Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8628-4280

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Morris joined UC San Diego’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department within the Jacobs School of Engineering as an Assistant Teaching Professor in 2020. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UCSD working with the Talke Lab for Biomedical Devices. During his graduate studies, Morris was awarded as a Technology Management and Entrepreneurism Fellow with the Institute for the Global Entrepreneur and as a Science Policy Fellow with the School of Global Policy and Strategy. He has held summer internships with RAND, Northrop Grumman, Western Digital, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Morris received B.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Management Science (Quantitative Economics) also from UC San Diego.

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Nicholas Stein University of California, San Diego

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Works as the Project Development and Outreach Coordinator for the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UC San Diego.

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Katie Hsieh University of California, San Diego

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Katie Hsieh is currently a second year undergraduate student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UC San Diego. She has been a tutor for an introductory ECE course since 2020 and is involved in engineering outreach programs.

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Ravi D. Patel

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Farnia Nafarifard University of California, San Diego

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Chen Du University of California, San Diego

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Chen Du received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China, in 2016, and the M.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering from University of California, San Diego, CA, USA in 2018. He is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering with the University of California, San Diego. His research interests include computer vision, machine learning, and image processing.

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Kien Truong Nguyen University of California, San Diego

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Truong Nguyen University of California, San Diego Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-5022-063X

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Truong Nguyen is a Distinguished Professor at UCSD. His current research interests are video processing and machine learning algorithms with applications in health monitoring/diagnosis and 3D modeling. He received the IEEE Signal Processing Paper Award for the paper he co-wrote with Prof. P. P. Vaidyanathan on linear-phase perfect-reconstruction filter banks (1992). He received the NSF Career Award in 1995.

While serving as department Chair (2014-2019), Prof. Nguyen and several faculty and student tutors developed a comprehensive hands-on curriculum for the ECE Dept. that emphasizes system-thinking and human-centric design. He is currently working on several projects with minority serving institutions on improving students enrollment in STEM fields.

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Abstract

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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