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Work in Progress on a Case Study of Preparedness in Engineering for Agricultural Start-ups (PEAS)

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division (ENT) Technical Session 2: Assessing the Entrepreneurial Mindset, Curiosity, and Workplace Preparedness

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division (ENT)

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Paper Authors


Katie Marie Mowat University of Nebraska - Lincoln Orcid 16x16

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I am an engineer who loves to work with people, learn about new ideas and developments in my field, and spend quality time with friends and family. My goal is to inspire the next generation of engineers to be curious, excited, and passionate about engineering and life. In my free time I enjoy playing flag football, crocheting, cooking, and gardening.

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Logan Andrew Perry University of Nebraska - Lincoln

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Dr. Perry is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. His work contains a unique blend of engineering education and civil engineering projects. Dr. Perry's current work centers on understanding how students transfer their knowledge between engineering school and work. This is supplemented by his role in developing assessment techniques for two NSF-funded projects focused on the incorporation of virtual and mixed reality technology into civil engineering education. In addition, his past civil engineering research investigated the behavior of wood shear wall structures under seismic loading conditions. Dr. Perry’s expertise in both the engineering education and civil engineering domains provide him with a unique skillset that drives his interests in learning and technical engineering work.

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Santosh Kumar Pitla University of Nebraska - Lincoln Orcid 16x16

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Santosh Pitla is an Associate Professor of advanced machinery systems in the Department of Biosystems Engineering where he teaches courses in both agricultural engineering and mechanized system management. Pitla also leads the advanced machinery systems l

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This work-in-progress case study looks at engineers and engineering interns at multiple small agricultural start-ups in the Midwest. Entrepreneurship is a growing area of study and education. In the last 10 years, this area has grown to include agricultural technology (Ag Tech) entrepreneurship. While most studies look at the skills entrepreneurs need, how entrepreneurs think, and how start-up interface with the community, there is a gap in the literature on who and how technical support is provided to these start-ups. Many start-ups go through a phase called “Valley of Death” where they are strained for both financial resources and technical support. The engineering workforce plays a large role in both providing technical support and helping agricultural start-ups succeed. However, are our engineers prepared to work in and support the agricultural start-up industry after graduation? Through semi-structured interviews, the authors are working to understand whether engineering students are prepared to work in the agricultural start-ups industry, what skills students still need to learn to be successful, and provide recommendations to academia on how to train engineers that are ready to work in agriculture.

Mowat, K. M., & Perry, L. A., & Pitla, S. K. (2023, June), Work in Progress on a Case Study of Preparedness in Engineering for Agricultural Start-ups (PEAS) Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--44146

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