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Research Overview

Engineering Majors Survey

Over the past four years, the Designing Education Lab has been conducting a national longitudinal study of how engineers make the transition from undergraduate to workplace environments, navigate the early career job market, and experience their first professional positions. At the heart of this study is the Engineering Majors Survey (EMS), a survey designed to explore engineering students’ technical, innovation, and entrepreneurial interests and experiences over time.

Pathways of Engineering Graduates

How do students decide to major in engineering? What educational experiences and resources are most effective in helping sustain and expand their interests?  What factors contribute to students’ choices for “next steps” after college? How can educational practices positively reach more students?
These are just some of the questions we have been researching in DEL for over 15 years.

Entrepreneurship and Engineering

Over the past three years, the Epicenter Research Team has been conducting a set of large, multi-method, national studies of entrepreneurship in engineering collectively known as the Fostering Innovative Generations Studies, or FIGS. As part of FIGS, the team is pursuing three major Research Questions (RQs). Each of these questions addresses an important gap in existing knowledge about entrepreneurship education for engineers:

  • an examination of how entrepreneurship programs for engineers work from the ground up (RQ1);
  • an exploration of how engineering students’ innovation and entrepreneurial interests evolve over time and are influenced by educational and workplace experiences (RQ2); and
  • a study of how engineering students and faculty perceive and learn entrepreneurial content in traditional technical environments (RQ3).

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Undergraduate Research Interns (SURIs)

The Stanford University Mechanical Engineering Department conducts a program called the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI). To be eligible, a Stanford undergraduate must be rising into their sophomore, junior or senior year in the fall quarter following the summer research experience. SURI is a fully immersive program in academic research. Each summer DEL accepts two to  four undergraduate Research Interns. Many of the DEL research interns participate in writing a research or technical paper for the ASEE Annual conference.