ESED Certificate Alum Awarded NSF CAREER Grant

March 31, 2016

Marisa Orr, alum of the Engineering and Science (ESED) Certificate program, and an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Louisiana Tech University, has been awarded an Early Career Development (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation.  Marisa will use the CAREER award to investigate practical and theoretical aspects of engineering students’ academic pathways.  In particular, she will examine the student who persists in an engineering major for long times but makes minimal progress towards degree completion.  Outcomes will include an evidence-based Academic Dashboard that students can access online to navigate the engineering curriculum.  Marisa was one of the first students at Clemson to earn an ESED certificate in 2010 while she was a graduate student in the Mechanical Engineering Department.  While a ME graduate student, Marisa conducted research on adapting the Student-Centered Activities for Large Enrollment Undergraduate Programs (SCALE-UP) approach for statics and dynamics for mechanical engineering students.  Results from implementing a combined statics and dynamics course in ME using the SCALE-UP approach showed that students retained more from statics, the failure rate decreased, and time to complete statics and dynamics decreased compared to the traditional two course sequence (Benson, Orr, Biggers, Moss, Ohland, and Schiff, 2010). During a post-doctoral appointment in Engineering Education at Purdue University, Marisa investigated the gender gap in performance across engineering disciplines (Orr et al., 2011).  In her faculty position at Louisiana Tech University Marisa has studied student retention and choice in aerospace and mechanical engineering (Orr et al., 2013, 2014, 2015).  At Louisiana Tech, Marisa also serves as the associate director of the Integrated STEM Education Center, which is involved in education reform with development of Integrated Engineering and Integrated Science curricula.