Adam Kirn, Alumnus, Receives 2015 Apprentice Faculty Grant from ERM

April 29, 2015

Dr. Adam Kirn, a 2014 graduate of the Engineering and Science Education Ph.D. program at Clemson, is one of four individuals to receive a 2015 Apprentice Faculty Grant from the Education Research and Methods (ERM) Division of the American Society for Engineering (ASEE). This award recognizes the outstanding potential of faculty members who are new to the field of engineering education. The award includes a stipend for travel to the ASEE conference, and access to an engineering education research mentor.

Kirn says he is honored to receive this award and to pursue engineering education.

“Having a mentor through the ASEE ERM Apprentice Faculty Grant will provide me with an important piece of my engineering education research network,” he said. “I know there were many applicants for the AFG award, and I feel very honored and lucky to be one of those selected.”

Dr. Kirn received his bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2008. He came to Clemson University to pursue graduate work in bioengineering, completing a Masters degree in that field in 2012. He completed his Ph.D. in Engineering and Science Education in 2014, working in Dr. Lisa Benson’s research group.

Dr. Kirn is part of two ongoing collaborative research projects. The first seeks to understand the connections between students’ future oriented motivations and their approaches to engineering tasks, including problem solving. “Understanding the connections between student motivation and cognitive processes serves to make explicit the ways in which teaching practices of engineering faculty can lead to the positive develop of students’ attitudes and cognitive processes. Development of these attitudes and processes serves to create well-rounded engineers who can better serve the field,” he said.

His second research project seeks to understand how students who do not match the dominate profiles of engineering navigate the cultures of engineering. “This work seeks to shift the conversations in diversity from visually constructed social markers of diversity, to markers constructed by student attitudes and beliefs. Understanding the diversity of attitudinal profiles allows us to help students develop a sense of belonging even if the students around them dont look like them. Helping students find similar peers can help to staunch the exodus of talented students from engineering and provide diverse solutions to long-standing problems.”

Dr. Kirn will receive his award at the ASEE annual conference that will take place in June in Seattle, Washington.