Category: Research

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart and Jon Sticklen Present at 2023 IEEE ASEE Frontiers in Education Conference

Michigan Tech faculty and students traveled to 2023 IEEE ASEE Frontiers in Education, held Oct. 18–21 in College Station, Texas, and presented a plethora of scholarly work.

  • “Learn how to design high-quality qualitative educational research! – A workshop for disciplinary STEM faculty by disciplinary STEM faculty” 
    Co-facilitated by Michelle Jarvie-Eggart (EF) with John R. Morelock (University of Georgia), Heather Chenette (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology), Sara Hooshangi (Virginia Tech), Sarah Wilson (University of Kentucky), Iglika Pavlova (University of North Carolina Greensboro) and Rebecca M. Reck (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign).
  • “Work-In-Progress: Preliminary Work Introducing Automated Code Critiques in First-Year Engineering MATLAB Programming”
    Presented by Laura Albrant (CLS graduate student) with co-authors Pradnya Pendse (CS Ph.D. student), Mary E. Benjamin (CEGE Ph.D. student), Michelle Jarvie-Eggart and Jon Sticklen (both EF), and Laura Brown and Leo C. Ureel II (both CS).
  • “Work-In-Progress: Python Code Critiquer, A Machine Learning Approach”
    Presented by Pradnya Pendse (CS Ph.D. student) with co-authors Laura Albrant (CLS graduate student), Daniel T. Masker (CS Ph.D. student), Laura Brown and Leo C. Ureel II (both CS), and  Jon Sticklen and Michelle Jarvie-Eggart (both EF).
  • “Co-sharing secondary qualitative research data to understand technology adoption in engineering education courses”
    Co-presented by Michelle Jarvie-Eggart (EF) and Dominik May (University of Wuppertal, Germany), with co-authors Deborah Moyaki (University of Georgia Ph.D. student), Katrina Carlson (CLS M.S. student) and Landon Smith (University of Georgia undergraduate student).
  • “Extending the Usability of WebTA with Unified ASTs and Errors”
    Presented by Joseph Roy Teahen (CS Ph.D. student) with co-authors Daniel T. Masker (CS Ph.D. student) and Leo C. Ureel II (CS).
  • “Engaging Novice Programers: A Literature Review of the Effect of Code Critiquers on Programming Self-efficacy”
    Presented by Mary E. Benjamin (CEGE graduate student), with co-authors Michelle Jarvie-Eggart and Jon Sticklen (both EF) and Leo C. Ureel II and Laura Brown (both CS).
  • “The role of peer dialogue as disruptor in critical ethical analysis for computing students”
    Presented by Charles Wallace (CS) with co-author Andrew Ciminski (CS graduate student).
  • “A Replication Study: Validation of the 19-item Short Form for the MUSIC Inventory for Engineering Student Engagement”
    Presented by Susan L. Amato-Henderson (CLS emeritus) with Jon Sticklen (EF).
  • “Beyond Summer Reading: Enabling Covert Student Learning Through a Cross-Campus Connecting Theme”
    Presented by Charles Wallace (CS) with co-authors Laura Fiss (PHS), Brett Hamlin (EF), Heather Love (University of Waterloo), Linda Ott (CS) and Steven Walton (SS).
  • “An Educational Modeling Software Tool That Teaches Computational Thinking Skills Through STEM Classes”
    A poster by Dominika Bobik, Pradnya Pendse, Katie H. Ulinski, Trevor X. Petrin, Rhys W. Brockenshire and Leo C. Ureel II (CS).

New Faculty Spotlight: Gabriel Draughon

Dr. Gabe Draughon

Assistant Teaching Professor Gabriel Draughon grew up in Metro Atlanta. He comes to Michigan Tech from the University of Michigan, where he earned an MS and PhD in Civil Engineering (Intelligent Systems). He earned his BS in Biosystems Engineering at the University of Kentucky. “I keep moving more north!”

What drew you to Michigan Tech? 

I was drawn both by the area and by the University—specifically the Michigan Tech Department of Engineering Fundamentals, where the energy and passion for making engineering more welcoming and less daunting for first year engineers is unmatched!

What is your primary area of research and what led you to it?

My research area involves Smart Cities, and how sensing technologies in urban settings help us better understand how people move through, interact with, and derive benefits from social infrastructure.

I love working with sensors and smart infrastructure, which led me to the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIST) at University of Michigan during my graduate studies. More importantly, I was drawn to the idea of how incorporating sensing technologies could improve the lives of people and better manage our resources. 

“We live in a shared world.
How can we make it better?”

Gabriel Draughon

Can you share a little more about your research and what you like about it? 

Specifically I focus on social infrastructure (public parks, squares, markets, bus stops, etc.). I write deep learning-based software to ingest image streams taken by cameras in public parks to autonomously generate usage reports, in order to quantify performance of the space. Where people are entering/exiting? Which assets do they interact with most? What activities are they engaged in? How social is the space? This helps park managers, owners, and operators better design, manage, and plan their spaces. It enables data-driven decision making. With this data park owners can understand where to invest funds, what assets drive social interactions, and when to run different social programs. 

I like writing the software and working with cool things like convolutional neural networks, but most importantly I like the application. When I am “out in the field” I am usually in public parks—which is quite nice! I also am drawn to the idea of understanding how our infrastructure can help build a community’s social capital and impact community members’ mental and physical health. 

What do you consider an important long-term goal for your research, teaching, or outreach?

I would like to engage undergraduate students with my research and show them the types of impact we can have as engineers. Specifically I hope to engage students from under-represented groups in STEM (first generation students, minorities, women). I want to help build students’ sense of self-efficacy. Measurable long-term goals would be to increase retention rates of underrepresented groups.

What do you hope to accomplish, as an educator and as a researcher, over the next few years?

I want to instill a passion in our student base for using their skills to help others. We live in a shared world; how can we make it better?

What do you like to do in your spare time?

 Lots of things! Outdoor: Mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing. Indoor: Video games, movies, and board games.

One great spot to relax near Michigan Tech: the shore of Lake Superior.

What’s your favorite book?

“Lord of the Rings,” by JRR Tolkien.

Any favorite spots on campus, in Houghton, or in the UP?

Mine are the Tech Trails, KC Bonkers, and the Porkies (Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park).

“Try not to get overwhelmed with school work and be sure to set aside time to invest in friends, family, and hobbies.”

Dr. Gabriel Draughon’s advice for incoming students

Feedback on Michigan Tech’s Online Teaching Training

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart
Michelle Jarvie-Eggart

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart (EF), Thomas Freeman (CTL), Janet Staker Woerner of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, PhD student Mary Benjamin (environmental engineering) and MiCUP undergraduate researcher Luis Fernandez-Arcay of Grand Valley State University surveyed the faculty who completed Michigan Tech’s online teaching training from 2019 through 2021 to determine how that training changed their approach to the design of a course, a lesson and their teaching in general.

The group’s work, published in the Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, found that the training provided essential pedagogical and instructional design education absent in most PhD programs, resulting in self-reported improvements in both online and in-person instruction. Additionally, the experience of learning online increased faculty empathy for students.

Jarvie-Eggart, M., Freeman, T., Woerner, J. S., Benjamin, M., & Fernandez-Arcay, L. (2023). Learning to Teach Well in Any Format: Examining the Effects of Online Teachers’ Training on University Faculty Teaching. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 23(2).

Report on the Systemic Changes in the First-Year Engineering Program

First Year program architecture chart.

A conference paper was published for the First Year Engineering Experience Conference (FYEE), by AJ Hamlin (EF), Amber Kemppainen (EF), Brett Hamlin (EF), Norma Veurink (CEE) and Jon Sticklen (EF).

The paper is a short report on the initial results of the 2017 roll-out of a refresh for the First-Year Engineering Program at Tech. FYEE is an offshoot of the large First-Year Programs Division of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).

This year, 2020, papers were accepted for the compilation but there was no physical conference due to the corona-virus pandemic.

Hamlin, A. J., & Kemppainen, A., & Hamlin, B., & Veurink, N. L., & Sticklen, J. (2020, July), Three Years After Rollout: A Report on Systemic Changes in a First-Year Engineering Program Paper presented at 2020 First-Year Engineering Experience, East Lansing, Michigan.

Training Online Faculty

Michigan Canvas Users Conference graphic

Thom Freeman (CTL) and Michelle Jarvie-Eggart (EF) presented “Teaching the Teachers: A Case Study of Training for Online Faculty at Michigan Tech” at the Michigan Canvas Users Conference at Lawrence Technological University on March 6, 2020.

This presentation showcased Michigan Tech’s newly required course to teach online, ED5101, Foundations of Online Teaching. The session shared faculty’s reaction to the course as well as its surprising impact on faculty perceptions of techniques used in online learning.

ED5101 does TWO things:

  1. How to teach online: Introduces faculty to the structure and function of effective online classes, as well as online classroom management.
  2. How to design good lessons: Shows faculty how to design learning activities targeted at learning objectives, with aligned assessments.

Faculty feedback indicated one of the most valuable things they gained from the class was the ability to structure good lessons.

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart is a senior lecturer in Engineering Fundamentals and an affiliated faculty member in Cognitive and Learning Sciences.

Thom Freeman is a senior instructional designer and online learning specialist with the Michigan Tech Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning and an adjunct instructor in Cognitive and Learning Sciences.


Michelle Jarvie-Eggart on How to Succeed as a Freshman

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart
Michelle Jarvie-Eggart

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, a Michigan Tech graduate and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals, along with environmental engineering students, Amanda Singer and Jason Mathews, discuss the transition for first year students and tools that can make the transition easier.

Jarvie-Eggart, M. E., & Singer, A. M., & Mathews, J. (2019, July), Advice from a First Year Paper presented at 2019 FYEE Conference , Penn State University , Pennsylvania.


Much attention is paid to the transition from high school to college. Students who have recently gone through this transition may have some of the best advice to offer in-coming first year students.

Themes which emerged in this study, which corroborate other research include: time management, utilizing resources, hard work, class attendance, social activates and persevering through lower grades.

First and Second Year Business and Engineering Students Collaborate in Fall Class

UN Sustainable Development GoalsFor the past two years, students in “Introduction to Business” (BUS1100) and “Engineering Modeling and Design” (ENG1102) worked on project design teams to develop innovative solutions to a challenging problem. Mary Fraley (EF) and Jon Leinonen (CoB) developed this collaborative experience with design thinking guided by Mary Raber (PHC).

The students applied design thinking steps to empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test solutions centered on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Engineering Grand Challenges.

Students focused on topics including alternative energy, transportation, better medicine and others. The teams worked through design thinking collaboratively as was the intention for the project in addition to managing individual business and engineering tasks such as marketing plans and advertising as well as 3D modeling and hazard analysis, respectively.

To celebrate the finale of the semester-long project, design teams presented their work in a design exposition to be evaluated by faculty and staff from across campus.

Based on the judging, numerous awards will be conveyed to the project teams after the fall break. Because the design exposition occurred on the same day as the Idea Hub Open House, some design boards that exemplified the range of projects were also displayed at the open house.

By Mary Fraley.

Fraley, Raber, and Hein Present on VentureWell Grants Program

2018 ASEE

Mary Raber (Pavlis Honors College) and Mary Fraley (EF) presented: “Incorporating Design Thinking into the First-Year Engineering Curriculum” at the 125th Annual American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, June 24 – 27, 2018.

Fraley, Raber and Gretchen Hein (EF) presented: “Work-in-Progress: Entrepreneurial Mindset in First-Year Engineering Courses” at the 10th Annual First Year Engineering Experience (FYEE) Conference at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, July 24-26 (FYEE 2018).

The work for both papers was supported by the VentureWell Faculty Grants Program, which funds projects to “pioneer new ways to engage students in STEM innovation and entrepreneurship.”


Jarvie-Eggart and Fiss present at FYEE 2018

Mary Fraley Among the 2018 VentureWell OPEN Conference Presenters

Jarvie-Eggart and Fiss present at FYEE 2018

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart (EF) and Laura Fiss (Pavlis Honors College) are presenting the paper “Work-in-Progress: Comparing First Year Student Math and Verbal ACT Scores and Performance in Introductory Engineering and Composition Courses,” at the American Society of Engineering Education’s First Year Engineering Experience conference at Rowan University, New Jersey, July 24-26 (FYEE 2018).

The conference is hosted by the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering at Rowan University in Glassboro. FYEE is an opportunity for academic and industry representatives to discuss and share relevant topics in the first year engineering experience. Participants include college deans, department chairs, student service professionals, advisors, faculty in engineering and engineering technology, K-12 teachers, and industry leaders from throughout the country.

FYEE 2018 Banner

Norma Veurink Receives Funding for Spatial Skills Instruction Research

Norma Veurink
Senior Lecturer Norma Veurink

Norma Veurink (EF) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $105,975 research and development grant from the University of Cincinnati.

The project is titled “Enhancing Middle School Mathematics Achievement Through Spatial Skills Instruction.”

This is the first year of a potential three-year project totaling $222,847.