Grant Provides Graduate Engineering Students New Education Opportunities

Faculty, industry work together to prepare students for careers

 Dr. Manuel Rossetti would like to see more Arkansas students gain valuable experience in graduate school and use this experience to improve the state’s engineering work force. Rossetti, professor of industrial engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas, has initiated a new program at the university to achieve this goal.

The Student Integrated Intern Research Experience, or SIIRE, aims to increase the number of highly skilled employees in Arkansas who are ready to apply engineering research. It will serve engineering students with financial need, connecting them with faculty and industry through mentorships.

Each student in the program may participate in co-operative education, earning class credit through a paid job in an engineering field, or an internship. They will work with faculty and industry mentors to identify a research project related to their job or internship. This project, which will become the student’s master’s thesis, will help the student and mentors understand how engineering research can be applied on the job, and it will highlight the benefits to companies of hiring engineers with graduate degrees.

The program is open to all engineering disciplines, and participants in the program will be able to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five and a half years.

Rossetti, who holds the John L. Imhoff Endowed Chair in Industrial Engineering, is working closely with other faculty and administrators across the college and university, including the Honors College and the Graduate School. The co-principal investigators on the project include Kim Needy, head of the department of industrial engineering and holder of the Twenty-First Century Professorship in Engineering; Carol Gattis, associate dean of the Honors College; Ed Clausen, professor of chemical engineering and holder of the Ray C. Adam Endowed Chair in Chemical Engineering; and Micah Hale, assistant professor of civil engineering.

“This team has over 100 years of education and research experience,” Rossetti explained. “We hope to create a pipeline of diverse engineering professionals having graduate degrees, contribute to the research and teaching infrastructure in the state of Arkansas and create a model program for the nation.”

Release date: 10/18/2012