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  1. Akerson, V. (Ed.)
    The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a transition to flexible remote and hybrid work arrangements. This shift presents a challenge to colleges and universities as they prepare the next generation of STEM professionals in the knowledge economy. This case study of student experiential learning during the time of critical change from the Spring of 2020 through Spring of 2022 focused on how students, typically aged 20–23, contended with their professional development amidst changing patterns in workplace community, culture, and activities. We expected that students would struggle to achieve a greater understanding of situated workplace community practices; however, the data problematised these general assumptions. The findings highlight the variation in student experiences around these themes and are discussed in the context of scaffolding of student internships in intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cognitive domains. 
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  2. Akerson, V. ; Sahin, I. (Ed.)
    The Texas A&M University (TAMU) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) office provided funding to the Texas A&M University College of Engineering to support student participation in the Engineering Learning Community Introduction to Research (ELCIR) program. ELCIR is a two-week, study abroad, research program implemented in a learning community pattern. ELCIR has three purposes: (1) to expose sophomores to research, (2) to introduce students to cultural differences and global challenges, and (3) to provide students with the basic tools to prepare them for future research involvement. Participation in the multi-term program, which takes place at TAMU and in the Yucatan Peninsula, is limited to first-generation college students and/or students from underrepresented populations. The external evaluator for TAMU System LSAMP developed a survey for students to complete after their participation in the ELCIR international experience. Survey questions were designed to identify the impact of participation in ELCIR on students and gather participant suggestions for improvement of future LSAMP-supported international research experiences. The evaluator compiled information gathered from 92 participants during five years of ELCIR programming. This paper describes the participants’ self-reports of experience with and continued interest in study abroad, interest in another similar experience, subsequent involvement with undergraduate research, and ELCIR’s impact on their confidence regarding international travel, their awareness of, interest in, and plans regarding graduate school, their educational or career plans, and interest in employment outside the United States. Interest in or increases in interest in international travel, study abroad programming, graduate school, and employment outside the United States were found. These findings can inform engineering education programming for first-generation and minority students, an area of national need, for institutions across the United States. 
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