Many students choose a college major based on difficulty, selectivity, popularity, or their interpretation of the major and interest in the subject matter. Most students do not begin seeking experiences related to their profession until later in their college career. However, developing an understanding of the professional opportunities while also participating in activities related to the major allows students to solidify their choice of major and begin developing their professional identity and defining their professional goals. To assist students in developing their professional identity and behavior, an immersive, first-year experience with shadowing components was developed to renovate an Introduction to Bioengineering course at a large university. This type of experience is designed to expose students to the professional environment with a didactic and self-reflective curriculum, thereby supporting students in their early professional development. The class was taken from a passive seminar series that broadly covered the bioengineering field to one split into three career-centered foci, each with an overview and experience: i) Industry with topics in career fair strategies, networking, information literacy, and corporate skills with a simulated industry internship to create artificial membrane for kidney dialysis, ii) Healthcare professions with topics in healthcare operations, emergency medicine, inpatient care, and electronic medical records with a clinical shadowing experience, and iii) Research with topics in experimental design, ethics, scientific literature, and translating technologies with a research laboratory shadowing experience. Students self-selected into the three sections during an advising session and were asked to provide information before classes started to help facilitate setting up the shadowing experiences. Each section had the same number of lecture and immersion hours outside of class. Assignments, which consisted of weekly reflective journals, participation, and a group poster reviewing the experience, were also kept similar between the sections. Surveys were administered at the end of the experience in order to capture students’ perceived professional formation, career identity, commitment to major, and overall satisfaction with the course. Focus groups were also conducted for more qualitative and detailed feedback.
Are you a researcher? Would you like to cite this paper?
Visit the ASEE document repository at
for more tools and easy citations.