Summer Research 2011
I had the privilege of being in the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI) program. I, along with Michelle W., worked with Professor Sheri Sheppard, Sam, and Helen in the Center for Desgin Reserch (CDR) for the summer. We are doing research in the field of engineering education, continuing work started with the Academic Pathways Study (APS) and the Academic Pathways of People Learning Engineering Survey (APPLES) (APPLES Final Tech Report).
We are now working on the Engineering Pathways Study (EPS), which focuses on engineering alumni who graduated four years ago, and the Pathways of Engineering Alumni Research Survey (PEARS) survey. We are trying to understand the career pathways of engineering graduates, the factors that keep them in an engineering position or cause them to leave the field, and how undergraduate institutions can better prepare engineers for the workplace. I became the group expert in using Qualtrics, the survey tool we selected. We recently deployed the survey at four shcools, and will begin data analysis at the start of 2012. I am excited to see what we can learn and how it might impact my life as an engineering student trying to decide what I might want to do in terms of my career path.
We also had a project to re-design the Delta Design game for E14, the Introduction to Solid Mechanics class that Sheri Sheppard teaches. The goal was to scale down the exercise to make it shorter and more relevant to the material taught in the class. This work will result in a conference paper for the American Society of Engineering Education, stay tuned for more information about that!
And finally, I am creating this ePortfolio! I kept a weekly blog of what I did and learned over the summer. I am still continuing research work with the group through the school year, which is exciting for me to actually see the results of my work and continue to learn. I wil periodically add more about my current work!
I have long been interested in the idea of research. One of my main goals is to learn about research by doing it! I want to know more about the research process and what it entails. Graduate school is a definite possibility in my future, so I would like to get a taste of the research experience now, because that might impact my decision later. I am also interested in our project! I had no idea engineering education was a field of study, but now that I do, I want to learn more about it. I would like to understand the findings from the Academic Pathways Study, because it might affect my life as a current undergraduate engineer. I want to feel like I am contributing to the project as well. Finally, I would like to get to know people better, including Sheri, Sam, Helen, and the other SURI students.