A mandatory early internship course: An analysis of engineering identity of students

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According to the literature, engineering identity significantly affects motivation and retention among students, and engagement and involvement in the industry seem crucial in attaining such identity. For this evidence-based paper, we report the experience of a new mandatory early internship course in industrial engineering programs at a large private university. In 2020 the Universidad Andres Bello School of Engineering significantly changed its curricula. One of the most significant changes was the redesign of internships to address observations made by peers during previous accreditation processes that pointed out the lack of supervision and guidance during students' internships. Thus, we designed a mandatory internship course to complement and enhance students' experience before and during their first approach to the working world through mentorship and webinars that intend to support the role and identity of future engineers. For one term, students from the program's second year participated in initiatives with the industry, attending webinars with high executives and recognizing people from the public and private sectors. That presented them with several areas where they could perform their profession and the challenges for their future engineering role. Also, they participate in small groups with a teacher who guides them before and during their internship to better give them tools to introduce them to the opportunities available in the industry and empower them as engineers. Consequently, this paper intends to assess the impact of these new redesign courses on students' engineering identity. We collected data through a validated survey from three different samples of students currently enrolled in Industrial Engineering programs to evaluate whether these groups have significant differences regarding their engineering identity. The first group included students presently going through the mandatory early internship course. The second group involved students at the end of their first year who had not yet gone through this class. The final group included third-year students that went through the former model of internships, without mentorship or course associated, used as a control group. We found significant differences between one of the items that would impact students' engineering identity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2023
Event2023 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - The Harbor of Engineering: Education for 130 Years, ASEE 2023 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: 25 Jun 202328 Jun 2023


  • Engineer Identity
  • Industry
  • Internship
  • Mentorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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