Adam Kirn

Adam Kirn

Associate Professor of Engineering Education He, him, his


Adam Kirn is an associate professor in the College of Engineering. His research focuses on connecting students' motivations toward long-term goals and their actions in engineering through the use of mixed methods techniques. Specifically, he is examining actions in engineering teams to create inclusion, graduate education to improve educational training, and K-12 environments that increase engineering interest. The results of this work can help practitioners understand how students filter and use current information based on their future goals, and guide practices to help students connect class content to their goals and become inclusive practitioners.

Research interests

  • Student motivation and learning
  • Engineering identity
  • Graduate student experiences
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering
  • Engineering teaming

Prospective graduate students

Please contact Dr. Kirn directly about potential interests in engineering education research.


  • Ph.D, Engineering in Science Education, Clemson University, 2014
  • M.S., Bioengineering, Clemson University, 2012
  • B.S., Biomedical Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 2008

Grants received

  • S-STEM: Creating Retention and Engagement for Academically Talented Engineers, Spring 2019-Present, National Science Foundation: Education and Human Resources (DUE-1833738), Principal Investigator: Indira Chatterjee, Co-Principal Investigators: Ann-Marie Vollstedt, Adam Kirn, Tamara Valentine, Jeffrey LaCombe
  • Research Initiation: The impact of engineering summer camps on middle school students’ interest and identity, National Science Foundation: Engineering Education and Centers, Spring 2018-Present, Principal Investigator: Indira Chatterjee Co-Principal Investigators: Jennifer Amos, Adam Kirn
  • Collaborative Research: Improving Performance and Retention of Engineering Graduate Students through Motivation and Identity Formation, National Science Foundation: Education and Human Resources, Fall 2015-Present, Principal Investigator: Adam Kirn, Co-Principal Investigator: Cheryl Cass
  • Collaborative Research: Building Supports for Diversity through Engineering Teams, National Science Foundation: Engineering Education and Centers, Fall 2015-Present, Principal Investigator: Adam Kirn, Co-Principal Investigator: Allison Godwin
  • Intersectionality of Non-Normative Identities in the Cultures of Engineering (InIce), National Science Foundation: Engineering Education and Centers, Fall 2014-2018, Principal Investigators: Geoffrey Potvin and Lisa Benson. Co-Principal Investigator: Adam Kirn and Allison Godwin

Selected publications

  • Kirn, A., Huff, J., Godwin, A., Ross, M., & Cass, C. (2019). Exploring Tensions of Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis in a Domain with Conflicting Cultural Practices. Qualitative Research in Psychology
  • Potvin, G., McGough, C.*, Benson, L., Boone, H.*, Doyle, J.*, Godwin, A., Kirn, A., Ma B.*, Rohde, J.*, Ross, M., Verdín, D.* (2018). Gendered Interests in Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering: Intersections with Career Outcome Expectations. IEEE Transactions on Education
  • Godwin, A., Verdín, D.*, Kirn, A., & Satterfield, D.* (2018). The Intersection of Gender and Race: Exploring Chemical Engineering Students’ Attitudes. Chemical Engineering Education.
  • Verdín, D.*, Godwin, A., Kirn, A., Benson, L., & Potvin, G. (2018). Engineering Women’s Attitudes and Goals in Choosing Disciplines with Above and Below Average Female Representation. Social Sciences.
  • Kirn, A., & Benson, L. (2018). Engineering Students' Perceptions of Problem Solving and their Future. Journal of Engineering Education.
  • Godwin, A., Kirn, A., & Rohde, J.* (2017). Awareness without action: Student attitudes after engineering teaming experiences. International Journal of Engineering Education.

Students noted with *

Courses taught

  • ENGR 720 - Teaching Undergraduate Engineering and Science: For engineering or science graduate students seeking a career in academe. Includes discussion and practice of effective teaching techniques, assessments, and technologies, and an overview of current engineering and science education research.
  • ENGR 691 - Engineering Technology: Integrated presentation of engineering problems solving skills, oral and written communication, economics, ethics, professionalism, and social and environmental issues.
  • EDRS 700 - Introduction to Educational Research: Introduction course required for all students preparing for an advanced degree. Emphasis on the purpose, general procedures and types of educational research. Designed for research practitioners and consumers.
  • ENGR 100 - Introduction to Engineering: Introduces engineering design, professional ethics, project planning, prototype fabrication, engineering creativity, and an overview of engineering disciplines. Student teams undertake a term-long design project.