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Work in Progress: Exploring the Relationships Between BME Student Perception of the Field and Career Plans

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Biomedical Engineering Postcard Session (Best of Works in Progress)

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Nicole L. Ramo Shantou University Orcid 16x16

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Nicole earned a B.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering with a concentration in bioengineering from Kettering University (Flint, MI, USA) in 2012. Through Kettering’s experiential learning program, Nicole worked as a research assistant at Henry Ford Hospital’s Bone and Joint Center (Detroit, MI, USA) for 2.5 years where she further developed her interest in biomechanics. Nicole went on to earn her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO, USA) in 2018. There she gained experience working as a graduate teaching assistant for computer-aided engineering, biomedical engineering capstone design, and biomedical engineering introductory classes. She also served as a Graduate Teaching Fellow for the College of Engineering during the 2016/2017 academic year. Nicole then completed a two-year instructional post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Aileen Huang-Saad in the Transforming Engineering Education Laboratory within the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. Through this fellowship, she spent the 2019/2020 academic year working with Shantou University (Guangdong Province, China), teaching in their new BME program and assisting in curriculum development and accreditation efforts. She is currently in a one-year lectureship position with Shantou University to continue this accreditation work before starting as an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at West Chester University (Wester Chester, PA, USA) in the fall of 2021. Her engineering education interests include student engagement strategies, student perceptions of engineering disciplines, and program accreditation.

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Aileen Huang-Saad Northeastern University

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In February 2021 Dr. Huang-Saad joined the Bioengineering faculty at Northeastern University and became the Director
of Life Sciences and Engineering Programs at The Roux Institute (Portland, Maine). Dr. Huang-Saad has a fourteen-
year history of bringing about organizational change in higher education, leveraging evidence-based practices
at University of Michigan. She created the U-M BME graduate design program, co-founded the U-M College of Engineering Center for Entrepreneurship, launched the U-M National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Node,
and developed the U-M BME Instructional Incubator. She is a canonical instructor for both the NSF and National
Institute of Health (NIH) I-Corps Programs. Dr. Huang- Saad has received numerous awards for her teaching and
student advising, including the 1938E College of Engineering Award, the Thomas M. Sawyer, Jr. Teaching Award, the
U-M ASEE Outstanding Professor Award, the International Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award, and the College of
Engineering Outstanding Student Advisor Award. Aileen has worked in the private sector gaining experience in biotech, defense, and medical device testing at large companies and start-ups. Aileen’s current research areas include entrepreneurship engineering education, impact and engaged learning. Aileen has a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, a Doctorate of Philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

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Biomedical engineering (BME) programs attract students with a range of post-graduation aspirations including medical school, graduate school, engineering-focused industry, biotechnology-focused industry, etc. [1]–[3]. This diversity in how students aim to utilize their BME degree may reflect diversity in their motivation to study BME, their educational expectations, and even their perception of the field [2], [4]. Understanding the relationship between these factors would allow BME programs, at both the curricular and individual course levels, to better balance students’ interests and expectations as well as better support students' career goals. This work-in-progress uses preliminary student survey data to explore one such type of relationship – that between students’ perceptions of BME and their career plans and goals. This report will present the findings of this initial exploration, introduce two theoretical frameworks commonly used to study engineering student career paths, and discuss the implications of both on the development of a future multi-institutional study of BME students.

Ramo, N. L., & Huang-Saad, A. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Exploring the Relationships Between BME Student Perception of the Field and Career Plans Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--38160

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