Works In Progress: Impact of a pilot summer innovation internship on student attitudes towards engineering design and entrepreneurship
This study is based on our Institution’s inaugural Summer Innovation Internship, which provided an opportunity for selected students to be actively engaged in the innovation process. Beginning with the needs finding process, students underwent clinical immersion through observations in various clinical departments at the Institution’s Medical Center and School of Veterinary Medicine for six weeks. Additionally, students participated in a Biomedical + Engineering Entrepreneurship Academy (BMEA), in which they gained knowledge needed to develop the commercial potential of an idea. At the completion of the summer internship, students were expected to have a firm grasp of how to effectively engage with clinicians to identify relevant clinical needs and have a clear understanding of how ideas move forward in the context of critical networks of entrepreneurs and investors.
The purpose of this study was to gain understanding of the impact of the Summer Innovation Internship on students’ attitudes towards engineering design and entrepreneurship. While many studies have investigated engineering students’ entrepreneurial mindsets, knowledge gaps remain. Specifically, understanding how students’ entrepreneurial attitudes affect their perceptions of the engineering design process would provide insight and additional motivation for entrepreneurship education and training.
A thirty eight question likert survey was administered on the first and last day of the seven week internship, in which changes in student attitudes towards entrepreneurship, level of understanding of entrepreneurial concepts, and potential applications of entrepreneurial thinking were assessed. We hypothesized that participation in the internship will improve students’ awareness, change their perceptions, and increase applications of entrepreneurial thinking. Preliminary analyses demonstrate that all participants increased their level of understanding, perceptions and interest towards entrepreneurial thinking and their importance in engineering design. Additionally, all participants demonstrated significant gains in knowledge and confidence towards the engineering design process.
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