UConn CEE @ ASEE-NE 2022

Dr. Shinae Jang poses with other ASEE-NE committee members on stage

Dr. Jang (center-right) alongside other ASEE-NE Committee members

April 23, 2022

This year, Wentworth Institute of Technology hosted the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Northeast Section Conference in Boston.

Covering the New England area, the ASEE-NE section spans across the following states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Here in Connecticut—representing UConn—Pierredens Fils, Dr. Shinae Jang, Daisy Ren, Rinchen Sherpa, and Caressa Wakeman attended the weekend event, participating in the Student Paper Presentations on Saturday, April 23rd.

This CEE cohort was a mix of faculty and both graduate and undergraduate students. On Friday, the conference finished its sessions for Professional Papers and Extended Abstracts.

One of the conference’s Student Papers Track Chairs, Dr. Jang, helped lead the Saturday sessions in the morning and afternoon along with the help of Fils, a fourth-year PhD student working on his dissertation.

Throughout the day, sessions were categorized by theme for students to present their accepted papers. In particular, two sessions allowed for the hard work of UConn students to truly shine.

The first session, Smart Sensors and Structural Health Monitoring, showcased the following papers by the UConn attendees among others:

  • Technical Survey and Literature Review on Bridge Joint Monitoring Practices by Daisy Ren, Pierredens Fils, and Shinae Jang
  • Damage Identification of Crumbling Foundation using Non-Destructive Methods and Image Processing by Rinchen Tsewang Sherpa, Kay Wille, and Shinae Jang

Rinchen Sherpa presenting his academic paper in front of a powerpoint

For the first time ever, Ren, a rising fourth-year undergraduate student, gave an oral presentation at the professional conference as the first author of an academic paper (pictured above on the left).

Meanwhile, Sherpa, a civil engineering graduate student, presented on behalf of ongoing crumbling concrete research taking place at UConn (pictured above on the right).

Later in the day for the Engineering Education and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Session, Wakeman, a graduate student, presented the following paper:

  • Improving the Learning Experience of Neurodiverse Students in a Fluid Mechanics Course During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Caressa Adalia Wakeman, Amvrossios Bagtzoglou, and Maria Chrysochoou

Before working on the final paper this year, Wakeman performed qualitative analysis last summer on data collected from a junior-level fluid mechanics course taught by Dr. Bagtzoglou.

Their findings explored pedagogical themes that affect neurodiverse students in the course—seeking to better support academic needs through alternate exam modalities, course content, TA/recitation videos, etc.

As the semester progressed, the initial response rate of 28.6% jumped to 71.5% of neurodivergent students having a positive outlook towards the course’s learning experience efficacy.

Caressa Wakeman presenting her paper in front of a powerpoint

Caressa Wakeman providing context for the paper

The submitted paper was in part of the INCLUDE Project which Wakeman helps oversee to further assist neurodivergent students.

Upon seeing everyone’s diligent efforts throughout the conference, Dr. Jang enthusiastically shared her reaction and thoughts:

“I’m so happy to see the students attend after their hard work in preparing abstracts, papers, and presentations. I am so proud of all of them. I hope that these kinds of professional development opportunities are publicized more for our students to participate in to further learn and grow.”

Huge congratulations to the following students for having their papers selected at the conference’s award ceremony:

  • Best Student Paper – Rinchen Sherpa
  • Best Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Paper Award – Caressa Wakeman

From left to right, Pierredens Fils, Caressa Wakeman, Daisy Ren, Rinchen Sherpa, and Shinae Jang pose together for a group photo at conference.

From left to right, Pierredens Fils, Caressa Wakeman, Daisy Ren, Rinchen Sherpa, and Dr. Shinae Jang

Beyond the regional conference, Wakeman’s paper will also be considered in the national competition for Engineering DEI at the ASEE National Conference towards the end of June.

Following the whole experience, Wakeman especially was pleasantly surprised by the outcome:

“I felt really supported by the team. It was a really encouraging and nice experience—a huge honor. They were in the middle of awarding the professional papers, so when they called my name—it was surreal. Shinae told me, ‘Go! Go!’ I was not expecting to be called at all.”

Once again, congratulations to both Rinchen Sherpa and Caressa Wakeman for their winning papers!