Board # 20 : The Impact of Healthcare-Related Workshops on Student Motivation and Retention in Engineering
2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings
Dr. Centeno is an Associate Professor in the department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering and an affiliated faculty in the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida. Her research has examined optimization-based approaches for the planning and control of operations in healthcare, transportation and manufacturing industries. She possesses experience in working with large-scale mathematical programming models, developing heuristic solution methods, and building decision
... support systems. Dr. Centeno's research work has been sponsored by various agencies including NSF, ONR and FDOT and she has published in the Abstract This paper discusses the steps taken to design and implement a set of workshops focused on healthcare engineering with the aim to increase the motivation and retention of engineering students, especially women. During the workshops, students had an opportunity to interact with a panel of experts working in the healthcare field. The panelists, all professional engineers and mainly females (5:2) shared their inspirations, obstacles, and achievements, and performed an interactive case study session based on their fields of work. Two workshops were designed: Workshop 1 was only attended by students with prior interest in the topic of healthcare engineering; whereas Workshop 2 welcomed students with some or no previous interest related to the topic. To measure the effectiveness of the activities, a survey was designed and administered at the end of each workshop. Statistical analysis was performed to determine students' perceptions towards the workshops' content and implementation as well as to compare responses from students based on gender. The feedback from students was found to be very positive in both instances. The response from 100% of the female students who participated in Workshop 1 not only indicated that they were more aware of the opportunities, but also, more motivated to pursue a healthcarerelated engineering job. In addition, 90% of students who participated in Workshop 1 and 87% of those in Workshop 2, positively responded that after the workshop, they were more interested in pursuing engineering as a career (impacting both motivation and retention). The encouraging results support this intervention as an effective tool to showcase the connection between engineering and healthcare, and to increase student motivation in engineering-irrespective of gender.