Early Internships for Engineering Technology Student Retention: A Pilot Study

Sriraman, Vedaraman
Spencer, Bobbi J.
Talley, Kimberly Grau
Martinez Ortiz, Araceli
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American Society for Engineering Education

Research in engineering technology major retention suggests that early internships present an outstanding opportunity for freshman and sophomore students to engage, socialize and learn in communities of practice and to “discover” the link between theory and practice early in their academic tenure, leading to a consequent improvement in retention rates. At xxxx State University, the traditional senior level capstone internship program was reengineered and converted into a sophomore level program with minimal prerequisites so as to enable sophomore level engineering technology students to participate early in the internships, explore their majors and undergo experiential learning in the world of practice in their chosen disciplines. The motivation for this project came from onsite internship industry interviews and our industrial advisory boards which strongly suggested that early, “immersion” type industrial experiences would prepare students to become better learners. This conversion coincided with the strategic imperatives that stemmed from a university wide second year STEM major retention effort. This latter effort culminated in a four year NSF funded project, of which the early internships are a module. This paper describes the internship program reengineering effort, the details of the early internship program implementation and aspects of how the program is facilitating the assessment of student learning outcomes for ABET and other accreditation processes. The paper concludes with preliminary results that were harvested from the pilot implementation in Summer 2015 and with directions for future work.

This paper was originally presented at the 2016 American Society for Engineering Education annual meeting. © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education
Sriraman, V., Spencer, B. J., Talley, K. G., & Martinez Ortiz, A. (2016). Early Internships for Engineering Technology Student Retention: A Pilot Study. Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. doi:10.18260/p.26878
Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering
Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching
Engineering Education