Elizabethtown College faculty take home gold at engineering conference
October 25, 2018   //   By:   //   Achievements

Out of almost 5,000 engineering education innovators, four Elizabethtown College faculty members earned recognition for success in the field.

Sara Atwood, associate professor of engineering and physics and chair of the engineering and physics department; Kurt DeGoede, professor of engineering and physics; Brenda Read-Daily, associate professor of engineering and Stacy Zimmerman, Associate Director of Strengths Coaching and Ethical Leadership Development in the Division of Student Life, were the four faculty members whose papers and presentations highlighted an engineering conference this past June.

That conference was the annual meeting of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Described as “the largest and most prestigious membership society for the U.S. engineering education community,” the ASEE has provided engineering educators with leadership and innovation support for over a century.

It is rewarding to have our work recognized at a national level.”

The ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition invites educators from over 500 colleges and universities to share research and ideas in the field of engineering. E-town’s faculty was honored with three unique top awards.

Atwood’s paper, “Effects of Research and Internship Experiences on Engineering Task Self-Efficacy on Engineering Students Through an Intersectional Lens,” earned the Best Diversity Paper Award. Co-authored with three Stanford University faculty, the paper addresses minority experiences in the field of engineering.

The Best Diversity Paper Award is bestowed upon authors who “broaden participation in engineering and influence the inclusive, diverse future of engineering,” according to ASEE’s website.

“It’s been especially meaningful to me that all three of us faculty who had papers at the conference this year were recognized for outstanding work,” Atwood said. “To me, this group of awards signifies how our faculty at E-town are thought leaders in engineering education.”

One of those professors, DeGoede, walked away from the conference with two awards. The first was for a mechanics-based paper, “Competency Based Assessment in Dynamics.” This published piece received recognition as the Best Paper in the Mechanical Engineering Division, a category with over 1000 members.

DeGeode’s paper discusses his method of competency-based assessment, by which he grades students on how many skills they can do well instead of how well they are able to use the numerous skills studied.

“The award drew significant attention to my paper, and the presentation was well attended,” DeGoede said. “Many faculty, from a wide variety of institutions, have since asked me for help moving their course to such a model.  Often, an engineer with full competency of fewer skills is at a competitive advantage of a peer with only partial competency in more skills.”

DeGoede’s second award was also bestowed upon collaborators Read-Daily and Zimmerman for their paper, “Gallup StrengthsFinder in Engineering.” The three E-town faculty members were awarded Best Presentation in the First-Year Programs Division.

Although Zimmerman was unable to attend the conference, she enjoyed working alongside DeGoede and Read-Daily.

“Both of them are a joy to work with, and they are integrating the strengths philosophy into the Engineering curriculum in very creative and exciting ways,” Zimmerman said. “It’s an honor to work with so many colleagues who believe in this philosophy and integrate it into their areas of interest – teaching, mentoring, and engaging students.”

Read-Daily said she felt honored as well.

“It is rewarding to have our work recognized at a national level,” the professor said.

Next year’s ASEE conference will be held in Tampa, Fla. Will E-town take home the gold once more? Perhaps the College’s professors will require a whole new category—platinum or diamond.

About the Author :

Rebecca Easton is a junior at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. She is currently studying English with a concentration in professional writing, and is pursuing a double minor in communications and business administration. Her primary interests in these fields include journalistic writing, copy editing and marketing. She currently works for the Elizabethtown College Center for Student Success as a writing tutor. She also works for the Office of Marketing and Communications.

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