A novel paradigm for engineering education: virtual internships with individualized mentoring and assessment of engineering thinking

Naomi C. Chesler, A. R. Ruis, Wesley Collier, Zachari Swiecki, Golnaz Arastoopour, David Williamson Shaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Engineering virtual internships are a novel paradigm for providing authentic engineering experiences in the first-year curriculum. They are both individualized and accommodate large numbers of students. As we describe in this report, this approach can (a) enable students to solve complex engineering problems in a mentored, collaborative environment; (b) allow educators to assess engineering thinking; and (c) provide an introductory experience that students enjoy and find valuable. Furthermore, engineering virtual internships have been shown to increase students' - and especially women's - interest in and motivation to pursue engineering degrees. When implemented in first-year engineering curricula more broadly, the potential impact of engineering virtual internships on the size and diversity of the engineering workforce could be dramatic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number024701
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • cornerstone design
  • design thinking
  • engineering education
  • engineering thinking
  • epistemic frame theory
  • epistemic network analysis

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