|Improving the Ability of Engineering Students to Communicate Their Technical Discoveries to Non-Technical Audiences
A study funded by the generosity of the Engineering Information Foundation (EIF)
Susan Staffin Metz and Deborah M. Sinnreich-Levi, Co-PIs
Co-PIs Susan Metz (senior advisor, Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education), and Deborah Sinnreich-Levi (director, Academic Writing Programs) received a $25,000 grant from the Engineering Information Foundation, to offer and then improve a number of workshops to engineering students in their junior and senior years.
The Engineer of 2020 identifies the ability to communicate as a key attribute of successful engineers. ABET requires engineering schools to ensure students' ability to communicate effectively upon graduation. Yet traditionally, the ability to communicate has been interpreted narrowly, simply requiring students to convey technical information to their professors or peers. In addition to its writing-intensive Humanities courses taken by all undergraduates in their freshman and sophomore years, Stevens Institute of Technology offers a sequence of workshops to undergraduate engineering students in their junior and senior years designed to develop and strengthen students' oral and written presentation skills.
The Engineering Information Foundation (EIF) provided funding to Stevens to improve existing support for students by developing and assessing workshop components to increase students' ability to communicate research to non-technical audiences. Modifications to the workshops were made based on pre- and post-survey data. Furthermore, the grant was used to develop and award a Communication Prize. Typically, Stevens, awards a prize to senior design project student teams for innovative design, research or business projects which could lead to the development of a technology directly linked to either novel or established scientific concepts. The EIF grant offered the opportunity to award an additional prize for the senior design team that developed the most compelling presentation to non-technical audiences. The Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education has generously offered to fund the Communications Prize in 2011.
This web site provides specific information about the workshop content and Communication Prize criteria, student assessment and faculty response to the project.
Prize Winners - First Year (2009):
Municipal Energy Frontiers: Biodiesel Raw Material Collection and Distillation
Student Team: Mary Kelly, Gustaf Rath, Christopher La Pilusa, Mike Munley
Advisor: Eirik Hole
Prize Winners - Second Year (2010):
1st Prize: RoboCup 2010 Small Sized Robot
Student Team: Patrick Alfonzo, Amanda Goldman, Michael Fatovic, Andrew Domicolo, Daniel Silva
2nd Prize: Australia Pavilion at Disney's Epcot
Student Team: Roman Malantchouk, John Dennan, Erica Mondadori
3rd Prize: NYC Century 21 Dept. Store Flow
Student Team: Stephen Lonison, Michael Decoro, Alex Sota, Keith Rosso
Prize Winners - Third Year (2011):
1st Prize: Primary Knee Component Removal System
Student Team: Amith Nayak, Corey DiBennedetto, Karl Flores, Mohamed Abuouf, Matthew Nebesny
2nd Prize (tie): Remotely Operable Inspection Craft
Student Team: Regina Pynn, Matthew Edwards, Michael Dambakly, Thomas Lakatos
2nd Prize (tie): Stevens Ducks - A System for Capturing & Managing Sports Events Highlights
Student Team: John Burnett, Gene Kang, Jaime Lew, Chris Rogers