University of Nevada, Reno Assistant Professor Adam Kirn 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.
"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."
Kirn received his bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology as well as a master of science in bioengineering and a Ph.D. in engineering and science education, both from Clemson University.
"This award recognizes not only Adam's potential as a young faculty member but also underscores the importance of the program the Colleges of Engineering and Education are working to build in engineering education," said Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering.
Kirn joined the University in 2014 with a joint appointment in the Colleges of Engineering and Education. He is currently 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 the teaching practices of engineering faculty can lead to the positive develop of students' attitudes and cognitive processes," Kirn said. "Development of these attitudes and processes serves to create well-rounded engineers who can better serve the field."
Kirn's second research project seeks to understand how students who do not match the dominant 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," Kirn said. "Understanding the diversity of attitudinal profiles allows us to help students develop a sense of belonging, even if the students around them don't 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."
Kirn will receive his award at the ASEE annual conference that will take place in June in Seattle, Washington.