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Work in Progress: Education Beyond Borders – Efforts of a Student Chapter to Foster Education and Promote Academic Excellence in STEM Fields

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Student Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Student

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

7

DOI

10.18260/1-2--33608

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33608

Download Count

150

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Paper Authors

biography

Keyshlan Karinné Aybar Martínez University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus

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Keyshlan K. Aybar Martínez is a 6th year Mechanical Engineering Student. Pursuing also, a minor in Project Management and Aerospace Engineering. Also, this year she is the President of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) increasing the membership by 33%. The last year she was the fundraising leader of the ASEE. Had experience in the industry as Test Engineering in UTC Aerospace Systems. Keyshlan used her skills to improve the Preventive Maintenance System of the Test Area and as a result the Test Area obtained a production line more efficient and reduce the stagnation bye 20%. In 2015 was a member of the SHPE and later was part of the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge Team (HPVC) under the Steering and Suspension Department.

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biography

Juleika M. Villarrubia University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus

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My name is Juleika Villarrubia Pérez with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering with emphasis on Pharmaceutical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus (UPRM). I had previous experience on Academia as a Research Assistant on Center for Pharmaceutical Engineering Development and Learning (C-PEDaL) at UPRM of wet granulation (batch and continuous) and simulations of segregation behavior. In the other hand, I have experience of the Industry field, as a COOP student, on the Technical Operation Department of Janssen Ortho of Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Companies where I acquired the Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification. For my extracurricular experience I was an active member of Girl Scout for 13 years where I acquired my leadership skills. Also, I have been member of several college organizations as: Honorary Chemical Society Phi Lambda Upsilon (PLU) Gamma-Gamma Chapter, American Chemical Society (ACS) and American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). For this last one, I was member of the directive board for two years. In addition, I was a mentor of the Counseling Department of UPRM for four years.

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Gionelle J. Perez Rodriguez

biography

Aidsa I. Santiago-Román University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus

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Dr. Aidsa I. Santiago-Román is a Professor and Chair in the Engineering Sciences and Materials (CIIM) Department at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus (UPRM). Dr. Santiago earned a BS and MS in Industrial Engineering from UPRM and Ph.D in Engineering Education from Purdue University. Dr. Santiago has over 20 years of experience in academia and has been successful obtaining funding and publishing for various research projects. She's also the founder and advisor of the first ASEE student chapter in Puerto Rico.

Her primary research interests include investigating students’ understanding of difficult concepts in engineering sciences, especially for underrepresented populations. She also works in the development and evaluation of various engineering curriculum and courses at UPRM applying the outcome-based educational framework.

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Abstract

The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) - student chapter at our institution is a student organization that has served, since its establishment in 2016, as the premier multidisciplinary society for individuals and organizations committed to advancing excellence in all aspects of Engineering and Technology education. The organization is composed of an executive board (president, vice-president, secretary and treasurers) and team leaders (promotion, membership, historian, outreach, fundraiser, and school orientations). We also have the support of our faculty advisor and an administrative support from the academic department that hosts the association. Together we work in alliance to achieve the chapter’s established goals.

The first chapter of the ASEE at our institution was founded in September of 2016. During that year the chapter only had 15 members from all engineering disciplines. By 2017, the chapter increased their membership to 72 students and for this year, 2018, we already have 93 members. This represents an increase of 131% and 25%, respectively. Out of those 93 members, 48 students (52%) are female and all of them are undergraduate students.

Our main objective is to work with educational institutions and industries to improve engineering education and promote student academic development and leadership skills. A secondary goal is to provide unique outreach experience to high school students from around the island of Puerto Rico to increase their interest in pursuing a degree in any STEM-related field. To complete these goals, a series of activities are designed, planned, and executed through the academic year. In this paper we will provide a description of the activities that have been executed and the impact to not only the chapter members, but also members of the student population at our institution and abroad.

The activities organized by the association are divided in three main areas: (1) educational, (2) professional development, (3) community service and (4) outreach. The educational activities involves the creation of multidisciplinary innovative projects within our university to support the development of new technologies. The expected result is to promote students’ interest and engagement in their field of study but also to foster their creativity and sense of belonging that will result in successful career.

The professional development activities are targeted to member and non-members of the association. They include offerings of a variety of workshops, info-sessions and other professional development activities to help members improve their knowledge and leadership skills in different areas within engineering. The student chapter also helps to develop career opportunities for our members to gain real-world experience by involving them with companies that offers internships, Co-operative experiences, and full-time careers.

In terms of community service, planned activities are targeted to general community. Specifically, we host volunteer events to promote social awareness within members of our student chapter to improve their knowledge in their fields while serving targeted and under-served communities. For instance, the committee works with different animal and children shelters around the island by bringing essential things like food, clothes, laughter, love, and company to those in need. Also, the committee participates of annual beach cleanings to preserve the environment and reduce pollution. All of our members have the opportunity to be involved in these activities and lead them, thus promoting their personal and professional growth.

Finally, the planned outreach activities are targeted primarily to high schools students from various public schools around the island. Many of our members are alumnus from those school and would like to give back in appreciation of the education they acquired that allowed them to be academically successful at our institution. In 2016 the association created a massive event call Engineering Fun Day (EFD). The EFD event is performed once a year impacting approximately high school students and their parents, from around the island. The main objective is to explain the benefits, opportunities, and areas of emphasis that each engineering field offers at our campus. During the first year, the program received 56 high school students and their parents. Last year, despite the devastation occurred from the passing of two major hurricanes, we had an increase in participation of 105 students (aprox. 61% increase). Other outreach programs that have been established are the School Visits and the Tutoring in Science and Mathematics (TISAM). The School Visit Program takes place during all the academic year and impacted 6 public and private schools, and students from different academic levels, promoting engineering education. Additionally, the TISAM Program, focuses on offering academic aid in the areas of science, math, and professional development to high school students. Through this projects, our chapter was able to help the education of students in times of crisis, after the passing of the hurricanes through the island, and encouraged interest in engineering education.

Members of the student chapter (all undergraduate engineering students) under the guidance of their academic counselor have established an ambitious plan for this academic year. Because there are no borders for education, we expect to expand our activities and impact more students, specifically in parts of the island were traditionally, no students apply to STEM fields, or even to college.

Aybar Martínez, K. K., & Villarrubia, J. M., & Perez Rodriguez, G. J., & Santiago-Román, A. I. (2019, June), Work in Progress: Education Beyond Borders – Efforts of a Student Chapter to Foster Education and Promote Academic Excellence in STEM Fields Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33608

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015