Published In

2018 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)

Document Type


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Electrical engineering -- Study and teaching (Higher), Engineering students -- Services for, Mentoring


This Work in Progress Innovative Practice Paper addresses three challenges we face when teaching freshmen: a) how to present a wide variety of sub-fields in electrical engineering, b) how to establish the relevance of electrical engineering to things they care about, and c) how to relate electrical engineering to students' experiences. We are attempting to address these through a mentorship program involving recent alumni working with teams of freshman electrical engineering students. Mentors are expected to: (i) come to class and speak about their job experience, (ii) meet with their teams early in the term to help them get started with their projects, (iii) provide a mock job or internship description to which the students apply by providing resumes and cover letters, (iv) giving feedback on their mock applications, and (v) be available by email or other means to answer questions throughout the quarter. While mentors were enthusiastic, some student teams were not as engaged as we had expected. Mentors suggested keeping students more accountable. Students were more concerned about more structured meetings with mentors and having clear expectations. We agree with these suggestions and are working on their implementation. Overall, our initial results are encouraging enough for us to continue developing this program further.


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