International Engagement Pt. III: LACCEI & Costa Rica 2016

LACCEI 2016Welcome to the Project Page for the “International Engagement and Broadening Participation in STEM …”  project, Part III, 2016.

INFORMED CONSENT: Thank you for visiting our website. The content on this page, including information from any webinars or online discussions, will be used to inform our research on international collaborations and the resulting challenges and strategies that either affect or facilitate career-life-balance. You are invited to participate in the discussion and you are free to use any format for your blog name or avatar. Responses from anonymous users are valued equally among those who use identifiable blogger names or those who use pseudonyms. We welcome and encourage participation from the general public, and seek to hear responses from an international audience. Thank you for your participation.

This page is hosted by the PROMISE AGEP, and this unique international project is sponsored by the National Science Foundation: NSF #1449322, Division of Engineering Education and Centers/Broadening Participation in Engineering (BPE), and the NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Award #1002566 for the University System of Maryland’s LSAMP program.


The Project 

Pura Vida!

International Engagement Project for Broadening Participation in STEM  

International Engagement Part 1: Ecuador 2014:

The Paper: 

Brown, Q, Tull, R. G., Medina, L., Beadle-Holder, M., and Medina, Y. (2015). Factoring Family Considerations into Female Faculty Choices for International Engagement in Engineering, IT, and Computer Science. Paper presented at American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE): 122nd ASEE Annual Conference Exposition, Seattle, WA: American Society for Engineering Education.


Part 2: STEM Identity.

Part 3: LACCEI Costa Rica 2016

Part 4: Internet and blogged discussions (July 15, 2016 – July 25, 2016). We will be discussing broadening participation and international engagement as part of our project. Blogged discussions will be held here, and on Twitter.

The International Portion

LACCEI new 2014

Participants will be attending the LACCEI conference in Costa Rica, July 17-23, 2016 and will blog about their experiences. The Director of LACCEI, Dr. Maria Larrondo-Petrie, of Florida Atlantic University, and the LACCEI President, Dr. Cecilia Alejandra Paredes Verduga of ESPOL in Ecuador, welcome you!

LACCEI Website:

Conference Hotel: Costa Rica Marriott:

Specific Items of interest for Participants/travelers from Maryland:

  • Be sure that you have checked your email and followed all instructions from Yara Medina and Shirl Curtis regarding travel insurance, forms, travel allowance, etc.
  • Departures for Southwest Airlines: All participant must arrive 3 hours in advance for this international excursion. General Southwest Airlines procedure includes checking in online within 24 hours of the flight to get your “space assignment” which will put you into an order to board the plane to find any open and available seat. If you wish to be in an early boarding “A” position, you will have to use your own funds to call the airline and arrange for “early-bird check-in.” This must be done within 36 hours of your flight time.
  • Please remember to pay attention to the Pre-departure video:
  • HEALTH!!!! INCLUDING ATTENTION TO ZIKA ALERTS: Information from UMBC’s Director of Health Services for our group (Note that you may choose to share cans of insect repellent with one another, e.g., one person within a group of 3-4 may share a can, saving money on individual purchases. Recommendations include 20% DEET such as Cutter Backwoods and Off! Deep Woods. READ ALL OF THE LINKS:
  • Attire for the conference: Business
  • Attire for the Gala Dinner on Thursday Night: Cocktail Attire


Costa Rica

  • Weather for the week: 80 degrees and rain:
  • Time Zone: UTC/GMT -6, No daylight savings time, 2 hours BEHIND Maryland.
  • Tax: LEAVING: save $$ for the departure tax — Costa Rica Exit Tax. Please note that there is a $29 USD departure tax payable at the aiport. We recommend that you consider USD/Costa Rican cash. Save at least $30 USD or $16,300 COLONES. This tax must be paid before you check in for your flight.




Twitter activity is strongly encouraged. Please engage, and use in your tweets:

#Thinkbigdiversity @LACCEI2016 #LACCEI

  • Sunday, July 17, 2016: Arrival, Dinner – TBA. Attire: Casual.
  • Monday, July 18, 2016: Orientation to Mobility, Humanitarian Engineering ideas, and Costa Rica: Dr. David Delaine, Mentor-in-Residence, Faculty, Ohio State University. [Dr. Delaine is an alumnus of LSAMP and LSAMP BD. He is  co-founder of SPEED, and has been attending LACCEI for many years. Fluent in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, Dr. Delaine completed a postdoc in Brazil after finishing his electrical engineering doctoral work at Drexel University. Dr. Delaine is a Vice President with the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, and is a new professor in Ohio State’s new department of Engineering Education.] 10:00AM – 1:00 PM. Location in the hotel (Please check-in with Y. Medina for updated instructions.) Blogging instructions for the day are discussed  in the comments, denoted as “7-18-Q3.” Please consider blogging soon after the discussion. Attire: Casual.
    • Afternoon: Lunch with full group (including Dr. Reed and Dr. Delaine) – La Isabela
    • Group meeting with Dr. Tull, and filling out paperwork
    • After the meeting: On your own.
  • Tuesday, July 19, 2016: FLEEI, Foro Latinoamericano de Estudiantes sobre Educación en Ingeniería. ALL DAY activity. Attire: Business Casual. (No ties needed)

FLEEI schedule

  • Wednesday, July 20, 2016: Plenary and program. Attire: Business
    • 6:30 AM – Breakfast (suggested) – La Antigua
    • 7:30 AM – Get registration materials
    • 8:00 AM – Be seated in the main room for the Plenary Session (same hallway as FLEEI) – Room: Juan Vazquez de Coronado D, E
    •  Opening Plenary Session with Dr. Louis A. Martin-Vega, Ph.D.,
      Dean of engineering at North Carolina State University, President of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Title: “Engineering Education and Research; Past, Present and Future Perspectives” [NOTE: Dr. Martin-Vega is one of the Advisory Board members for the PROMISE AGEP.]
    • 11:00 AM – Parallel Sessions – Your Choice
    • 1:00 PM  – Lunch
    • 8:00 PM – Reception
  • Thursday, July 21, 2016: Attire: Business.
    • Breakfast
    • Plenary
    • 2:30 PM – 4:30 Poster – Hector Medina & Saadi Habib (#83), Guidelines for Engineering Laboratory Courses: Increasing Undergraduate Student Curiosity and Material Retention
    • *** Organization of American States/ Engineering for the Americans (OAS/EftA) Special Session on Women in STEM and Diversity, 2:30 – 4:30 PM.  Room: Alcazar II  (Please be sure to sit in the front, take good notes. This key session for our project. Moderator: Renetta Tull. Speakers: Autumn Reed, Bevlee Watford, Lawrence Morehead. Rapporteur: Jaye Nias.) ***
    • 5:00 PM – Renetta Tull & Autumn Reed’s paper, Invitation to Engage: Innovative and Collaborative Approaches to Diversifying the STEM Professoriate. Room: Cabildo I
    • 8:00 Evening Gala – Attire: Cocktail. – Room: Juan Vasquez de Coronado D,  E
  • Friday, July 22, 2016: Closing Program (Attire: Business casual) and Networking Tour (Attire: Casual)
    • Breakfast
    • 9:00 AM Poster Session:
      • Sarah Mburu (#74), Atom Probe Tomography Analysis of the Local Chemical Environment at the Austenite/Ferrite Inter-faces of Cast
        Duplex Stainless Steels
      • Myela Paige (#84), Fabrication and characterization of electrically pumped disordered ZnO lasers
      • Elise Donkor (#59), Heart Monitoring System for Personalized Arrhythmia Detection
      • Maxim Serebreni (#52), Solder Interconnects Failure Modes in Encapsulated Electronic Packages.
    •  Last session
      • Closing Plenary Session
    • Afternoon group activity
      • Afternoon: La Paz Global Sustainability Excursion:
  • Saturday, July 23, 2016: Departure

In addition to this schedule, participants are responsible for attending all plenaries, and all sessions (e.g., poster presentations) that include other members of the delegation.



Enlarged schedule available here: LACCEI 2016 Conference Schedule

Technical Talks: TBA

The Blogging Process

The study is designed to observe responses of participants from the University System of Maryland, NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) community, graduate student members and faculty mentors who attend the Latin and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions annual conference, and the community at large.  We are interested in their thoughts about career-life-balance and international engagement. We will be asking all who attend with us to record their thoughts using a blog structure (comments below). Upon return to the states, we will have follow-up discussions  regarding the international experience and career-life-balance. The general public is invited to participate in the online discussions. This is a social media, interactive project. Men and women are invited to participate.

 [A note about blogging: Many people engage in blogging activities on mobile devices, and bloggers who type without an account may not be able to edit their entries. Therefore, there may be small errors within the posts below that are the result of blogging quickly “on-the-go,” or unintentional mobile device “auto-corrections” that produce errors out of context. Errors will be corrected in any resulting publications. Thank you for reading and participating in the conversation.]

This page will be updated regularly. 

125 thoughts on “International Engagement Pt. III: LACCEI & Costa Rica 2016


    This blog discussion is being used for research on international collaborations and resulting challenges and strategies that either affect or facilitate career-life-balance.

    Your comment will be used for research purposes.

    We are planning to write and publish a “thought paper” based on the outcomes of this discussion. We may use excerpts from your comments, but we will never add any text to your post. Your online name may be used in the narrative for the research discussion and the publication. You may use your existing online persona, use a pseudonym, or post as “Anonymous.” All responses will be considered equally valid.

    By posting on this website, you are giving your consent to have your comments considered for use in the research discussions and publications.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From meeting the attendees I expect to learn a great deal about the experiences of engineering students in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Looking at the presentation schedule there is a major focus on engineering education, so I hope to learn how faculty are developing more effective ways to connect with students.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. This will actually be my first time traveling outside of the US since getting my passport, so I am really excited to experience the different culture. I hope to gain a lot of knowledge by networking with people, and to see the many different opportunities for collaboration there are at these international conferences.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Answer to 7-15-Q1:

      I expect to learn from this excursion more about the culture in Costa Rica. I want to know teaching techniques used in a classroom environments that promote hands-on learning. Find out about outcomes of last year’s projects and potential collaboration opportunities to be implemented in Latin America.

      Liked by 2 people

    4. I would like to know how engineering is developing in the minds of Other young adults and their perspectives on top engineering problems or issues.

      Liked by 2 people

    5. As I have been recently hired as a professor and was raised by a Costa Rican mother my outcomes from the trip may be a bit different from others. I expect to learn more about the needs of new travelers and young researchers who are growing their cultural competence and international networks. I also expect to learn about how I can produce my own research grants around international developmentof URM students and international efforts for Diversity and Inclusion.

      Liked by 2 people

    6. My research interest is in technology and innovation for the global south. I value this opportunity to travel and learn more about the culture, education and scientific research focuses of those in Latin America and the Caribbean. I hope that it will help me inform future research objectives in mobile computing for this area of the world.

      Liked by 2 people

    7. I am personally very passionate about the intersection of public policy and engineering; particularly, how government and technology experts can collaborate to further STEM education through various organizations. I am excited to attend LACCEI and to network with professionals who are also passionate about engineering education. I hope to learn from many different people, and to take this knowledge back with me to my workplace.

      Liked by 2 people

    8. I look forward to networking and discussing research experiences and ideas with conference attendees. Particularly, I am interested in how faculty engage students (undergraduate and graduate) in research and keep them motivated. I expect to return with enthusiasm and share my experience with STEM students and colleagues at UMES and other institutions. More importantly, I plan to use what I learn to encourage and facilitate student participation in international research conferences like LACCEI.

      Liked by 2 people

    9. Being a teaching assistance for the past two semesters, I have notices that student’s retention and final performance in the class is based on their motivation towards the class/material. Therefore, I expect to learn during this excursion is how to keep students motivated and engaged while doing so in a student population with different cultures and interests. In addition, this will be my first travel to Latin America; I would love to experience the different culture aspects in Latin America.

      Liked by 2 people

    10. From this excursion, I want to network and be able to learn more about engineering and how people from all over are incorporating education into their research.In the future, I would like to focus more on education and how we can incorporate all different learning styles into the teaching methods so no student will be left behind. Being an attendee of a education-focused engineering conference will hopefully open new doors and introduce new ideas to me. I also expect to learn more about the Latin American culture and the views of locals on American culture.

      Liked by 2 people

    11. I am Director of UMBC STRIDE and Coordinator for Faculty Diversity and ADVANCE at UMBC. I am also a UMBC alumna ’08 MA, Intercultural Communication and ’14 Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture. I have travelled extensively outside of the US and I am also fluent in Spanish. Aside from having the opportunity to share best practices for Faculty Diversity and Career-Life Balance. I hope to learn from your experiences and your needs, so that I can work to help facilitate graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty’s global engagement, networking, and opportunities for international research collaborations, which are all critical components for career advancement and professional development in STEM. On a personal note, as an act of personal career-life balance, I am brining my 11-year old daughter along on this trip (this is her 1st time out of the USA). She was just accepted into a STEM magnet middle school program. As I do not have a STEM degree I hope to also learn how to best expose her to STEM opportunities in an international context.

      Liked by 1 person

    12. I am particularly interested in learning about the Costa Rican culture, and what young scientists are working on in Latin America. Since this is not my first time in the conference, I will follow up on research topics previously presented like “Mujeres en STEM,” technology and e-learning, etc. I work for a program that does research on graduate students and young faculty from underrepresented backgrounds in STEM fields. I look forward to learning from all the participants of this conference and learn from their experiences. On a personal and professional note it is always good to reconnect with the “conference crew”, and I look forward to new opportunities to network and create new collaborations with researchers outside of the US.

      Liked by 1 person

    13. There are several things that I expect to learn from this excursion. First I expect to learn from different students, professionals, and faculty members about various research topics and areas of engineering. I am an undergraduate student who is strongly considering graduate school so I believe I can learn a lot about the benefits and inner workings of grad school during this excursion. Last but not least I expect to learn from the environment around me. This is my first time out the country so being immersed in a completely different culture than my own will be a learning experience as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    14. From this experience, I hope to learn more about the global impact of engineering innovation and sustainability. In addition, I’m hoping to learn more about how the topics discussed during this conference will influence not only my understanding of the field, but also provide me with more information to share with other engineering students at my institution.

      Lastly, I hope to also experience the Costa Rican culture that is both unique and vibrant. I am excited to expand my exposure to this part of the world.

      Liked by 2 people

    15. I expect to learn so much in three main areas of the excursion. 1) The ‘whats’, ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of the LACCEI’s approach in using Engineering and Technology education to change “the world”, 2) The logistics and experience of traveling in a group, and 3) The island and culture of Costa Rica.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. From the people and the local culture, I’m expecting to learn a bit more Spanish and to gain first hand immersion into Latin American culture!

    From the research, I’m expecting to learn about the software engineering process that takes place in Latin and Caribbean countries. In particular, I am hoping to gain a better understanding of the technologies being engineered to enhance telemedicine communications between patients and healthcare providers.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My research interest is in technology and innovation for the global south. I value this opportunity to travel and learn more about the culture, education and scientific research focuses of those in Latin America and the Caribbean. I hope that it will help me inform future research objectives in mobile computing for this area of the world.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have several expectations from attending LACCEI 2016. First, I would like to learn about the various research topics of students from all over Latin America and the Caribbeans, especially those in STEM programs. Second, I would like to learn how these graduate students interact with their fellow colleagues and advisers and possibly learn new approaches that promote and improve student-teacher interaction in an academic environment.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I have heard from multiple people that many Costa Rican students would like to come to the USA for further studies. I would like to find out the opportunities that these students already have in their country and what they are looking for in other countries. Also, I want to know what partnerships exists between their country’s resources and the USA’s that can assist the students’ education and career plans. As a Kenyan native who plans to teach briefly in Kenya at some point in the future, attending an education-focused international conference will give me insight of how the system works.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. 7-17-Q2: Think about the experience of traveling with a group.

    Did the “group travel for STEM” concept assist with your decision to participate in the conference, or assist with your process of traveling to another country? Please explain.


      1. Generally I do not care for “travelling” with a group. I am very independent, so find the task of bringing everybody together challenging and time consuming. However, when with a good group, like the group on this trip, the benefits of the positive atmosphere, great conversations and shared laughs outweigh the challenges of managing the group. This group showed me that as long as everybody is respectful and aware of the group dynamics, traveling with a group can be great!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. This is my first time traveling internationally as a group delegation. It was a unique experience because I’m used to having a ‘survivalist’ perspective when abroad quickly being indoctrinated into the culture of the community by learning to get around. This experience so far has allowed me to relax and take in some sights. While I was not aware of the group travel in advance of applying for this experience, I can see the benefits of having others around to assist in navigating new terrain. I can also see how it might also limit the interaction with local customs and culture but I will not know for sure until later.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Traveling with a group has been super fun! It’s been easy to identify people to converse with and have a pre conference introduction to the research that will be displayed during the week. I have limited Spanish speaking skills, so traveling with those that do has been great! Everyone has been so nice, which has reduced the anxiety of being in a foreign country and not knowing the language! Thanks guys!!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. The group type setting for travel definetly offers a more secure sense of transportation, especially in a foreign country. I feel that it also enables us to get to know each member of the travel group quicker then if we would travel to the conference independently. The STEM topic attracted me to attend the conference more so the international location in which the conference is hosted.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Q2: I think that the group concept did assist in my decision for participating in the conference. It was very helpful to know that I wouldn’t be traveling to the conference alone. Traveling to a different place in a group is generally positive in my opinion because it helps foster community building, and you get to share experiences together. Going to a conference and traveling alone can sometimes be difficult in navigating around the area. I think it would very tough for me to navigate through Costa Rica without a group. So having a group is very helpful in the process of traveling to another country.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. The group travel did assist my decision to attend this conference. I feel that when individuals travel with others in the same educational field, they become more relaxed and less anxious about traveling to a country with a different language. It can be very nerve-racking going to a conference by yourself and not knowing anyone there. After traveling with a great group, I feel it’s more important that I could imagine. Also, not knowing Spanish, I feel that the process of traveling to Costa Rica with individuals who speak Spanish helps remove the intimidation of traveling to another country.

      Liked by 1 person

    6. The group concept absolutely assisted in my decision to participate in this conference. By being in a group there is more confidence to go out and try new things, and everyone can encourage each other to participate. Alone it would be harder to step outside of your comfort zone, especially in an area that is unfamiliar. Personally, since I am not that good at speaking Spanish, I would be more apprehensive about exploring the area and trying new things alone.

      Liked by 1 person

    7. Answer to 7-17-Q2:

      Yes, the “group travel for STEM” concept definitely complemented my decision to come to Costa Rica. I have participated in 3 other LACCEI conferences, and I have always been excited about sharing the opportunities that are presented when attending this conference just by visiting a Latin American country. I had been considering ideas to present to colleagues to help them decide to participate, and for them to increase their curiosity for what happens in Latin America. I believe it is always easier to follow others when one is hesitant about doing something, to some extent, it is being afraid of the “unknown.” I strongly promote just picking up the opportunities provided, and running with them, if after all, they don’t work then we’re back right where we started. Lastly, with the thought of making an inclusive effort when we have a celebration, I say: “the more the merrier!”

      Liked by 1 person

    8. I love to travel in group because of the opportunity to make new acquaintances. I think traveling with a group is helpful for more than the sense of security. Having a mentor who explains to you what is expected from you during this conference, introduces you to the mechanics and guides you is crucial while abroad. You don’t want to mess up and say the wrong thing. The full immersion experience is smooth if you are traveling with a mentor.

      Liked by 1 person

    9. Yes I would say that the group travel aspect of the trip did influence my decision to participate in the conference. Although traveling to another country for a research conference is an exciting opportunity. The chance to fellowship and build relationships with other engineering students while also learning is a an even greater opportunity.

      Liked by 1 person

    10. Yes, the group travel was instrumental in my decision to attend this conference. By fostering new friendships with people from my hometown, i can be comfortable in reaching out to the Costa Rican people as well because i feel like i am not a complete stranger in this country.

      Liked by 1 person

    11. Participating in a group allowed me to overcome the fears of coming to such a big event alone. I believe that having 1 or more people pushing you to do great things always helps. Traveling in a group to another country really helped as I cannot speak the native tongue and had no idea where I was going. Finding out that this was the case for most of us was very reassuring and help me realize hey I’m not alone and I have some people to watch my back.

      Liked by 1 person

    12. Traveling in a group for STEM didn’t necessarily play a role in my decision to participate in the conference, but it is definitely an added plus. If I were by myself, I would be very hesitant attempt the very little Spanish I know to communicate with locals. Traveling with a very diverse group of people who think alike, can help with translations, and understand the local culture is something that I believe is big help for anybody when traveling to other countries. Traveling with group to another country with similar interests and thought processes always opens up the doors to new discussions and perspective on things that you may never have thought about. Also, the ease of communication, especially for questions, is a reason I am glad I chose to travel with the delegation.

      Liked by 1 person

    13. “Group travel for STEM” greatly assisted my decision to travel and participate in the conference. I think that the size of the group especially – medium sized – made me feel more comfortable traveling. The size is perfect because I get to meet new people, but also foster meaningful and hopefully long lasting relationships.

      Liked by 1 person

    14. Yes! The “group travel for STEM” definitely impacted my decision to want to participate in the conference. Although I like to travel, I was a little nervous about traveling to an island all by myself…I thought about the language barrier, the different culture, the recent cases of Zika and the overall timing of the conference. The idea of traveling in a group, along with the assurance of having “a team” most of whom were visiting the island for the first time as well was comforting. Unfortunately, I was one of the few people who had to fly by themselves to the conference. Although I did not get the “group checking in and flying” experience, my first few days have been amazing. It feels really nice to walk into a room and see hands go up signaling you to come take the seat saved for you…or check the group hangout and see what others are up to.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. 7-18-Q3: This morning you will meet with our LACCEI Mentor-in-Residence, Dr. David Delaine. Read the description for Dr. Delaine above in our agenda.

    Please discuss what you learn from him, as a reply to this post only.

    SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: Please read through each of the comments that are posted for this question *before you post* so that you don’t repeat what has already been said. Be sure that your post covers a *different* aspect of what was learned, something that has nit yet been mentioned. If you read something that others have already written that resonates with you, please click the “thumbs up” icon for those posts.


    1. David Delaine

      What is culture?
      The question posed to us this morning was “What is culture?”. I have always thought ones culture was the habits or traits one identified with as a result of how they were raised or from family values. Being amongst the group while in Costa Rica I have found that culture is every part of ones self. I’ve learned that culture is learned overtime and constantly evolves as certain scenarios and situations take place on our lives. People are adaptive, so I no longer believe that one culture defines a person. Cultures changes within each of us as we switch environments.

      How would I define my culture?
      I’d relate my culture to the earth and it’s ever evolving state. I’m so dynamic in my thoughts, interests, and desires. I allow myself to always be in a learning state, so I welcome knowledge and change of thought of in this case my own culture. I’m humble but loud and shy. I’m the person looking around and watching how other people move and interact before I make a move to be involved. I’m constantly evolving and changing as a person, woman, student, and human being.

      “They tried to bury me, but they didn’t know I was a seed.”
      -Dr. Jaye Nias

      Liked by 1 person

    2. One of the most important details mentioned in the meeting was the importance of learning from every experience and culture you get exposed to. It is important to know that we are changing persons, and every experience shapes your mind and objectives. Graduate school is a self-discovering opportunity, where you redefine what do you want to do, discover what will be your contribution to the world. Talking about “Diversity and Inclusion” we mentioned the importance to work in a diverse environment and to know what do you have to offer in your workplace. We talked about “code switching” and how we change the way we are and act depending on where we are.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. The part of Dr. Delaine’s talk that resonated with me the most was about graduate school being about personal development, and his own experiences through it. I appreciated the new viewpoint of enjoying the time you are there, spending it reflecting on what you want to accomplish, and setting yourself up to with strong networks and opportunities.

      Since I am about to go to grad school in the fall, I have heard a lot of different people mention the important things about grad school to get out/finished with it sooner, but not many people point out just how much of a personal advancement opportunity it is (outside of education) when you take your time and have a growth mindset.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. From our discussion with Dr. Delaine on culture informed practice, I learned that everyone uses different aspects from their experiences to define what culture means to them. A brief point during that discussion talked about limiting the integration of our culture at the work place. This was especially important to me because up until now, I have never considered the effect of how I integrate my culture at school and its influence on my lab mates and coworkers on and off campus. Reflecting over my interactions at school, I feel that I have shared many experiences with my coworkers without taking into consideration that they might have opposing viewpoints due to difference in culture and beliefs. I learned that exposing the people around me to my culture is important in order to preserve my identity and at the same time keep an open mind that there should be a line that defines a comfortable atmosphere for everyone in a professional setting.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. In interesting point I learned from Dr. Delaine is the concept of graduate school. I don’t know the exact quote but he said something along the lines of “graduate school is one of the few places where personal development is the goal”. That is definitely a concept I hope to carry with me through my graduate school career. So much in my undergrad career I got lost in the work and did not really focus on personal growth. That point has definitely made me more mindful of that aspect as I begin graduate school. Also it was really interesting learning the concept of knowledge brokers and how they impact engineering education.

      Liked by 1 person

    6. I enjoyed the session with Dr. Delaine and gained a better understanding of what is meant by diversity and culture! In my opinion the “laid-back” environment made it easier for each person to share and not feel intimidated. We completed a the think-pair-share activity in which we were asked to define our culture. What I learned from this activity is that there are cultural differences, however, these differences can be used as opportunities to teach. Hearing different perspectives helps to break down walls and remove prejudices.

      In my opinion, being open-minded, having compassion for others and being willing to serve lends to increasing diversity in the workplace, classroom, research lab, neighborhoods etc…

      The discussion today about diversity reminded me of one of many take home points from a workshop: 7 Habits of Highly Effective College Students (FranklinCovey), which is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”

      Liked by 1 person

    7. At one point on our conversation today, we ventured to talk about attitudes. Some people from more developed countries go to less developed ones with an attitude of “i am going to help those poor people.” We discussed how those attitudes prevent us from learning other cultures. In this conference, our advancement in knowledge with others should be mutual – give and take.

      Liked by 1 person

    8. I was really excited to hear Dr. Delaine’s talk about Culture Informed/Inspired Practice in STEM. My dissertation research in Culturally Responsive Technology was greatly inspired by my desire to insert my passion for cultural exploration into my work in computing technologies and human computer interactions. Often times, I felt that my research was scrutinized for not having a strictly global northern perspective of science contributions. Hearing the call to action by Dr. Dalaine to insert our cultural backgrounds into our work ignited my desire to continue to do more research in this area.

      As a professor in Computer Science my research sought to bring culturally relevant instruction into my classroom experiences in order to facilitate a comfort level and proficiency for ‘urban’ students in introductory computer programming courses. As I move forward in my career I am excited that my research will continue to address cultural technological practices in social media. I hope that through networks created at LACCEI I will be able to ‘push back’ in creating an academic space in STEM that is open to dialogue and research from diverse perspectives.

      Liked by 1 person

    9. Talking with Dr. Delaine, I learned more about what engineering education research is and the different opportunities that are out there for people like me with similar interests. He opened a lot of doors for discussion about diversity and inclusion, culture and race and how these factors play a role in everything he does. I also learned a lot about the local side of Costa Rica by his introduction of his family, their land, and how many make a living in this country. I learned more about the importance on immersion in a different culture than mine, how it will mutually benefit me and the teacher of that culture, and how I would be able to incorporate things I learn to do in my everyday life.

      Liked by 1 person

    10. “If you don’t intentionally include you will unintentionally exclude”. This statement, said by Jaye, during our discussion was something that really stuck with me and pieced everything else together. The U.S. is a place where there is no one specific culture that defines it rather there is a wide and diverse spectrum of cultures that make it what it is. However a serious problem we face is that many people do not immerse or even try to really learn about different people’s cultures. This creates great disconnects and misunderstandings between people which can then lead to negative outcomes, such as the current battle between African-Americans and law enforcement. Situations such as this could be easily avoided if people took the time to learn about one another we could all live together more happily and peacefully. This is why I believe Dr. Delaine’s lab is unique and vital especially in a field like engineering.
      One of the three focuses of the lab is to create global diversity and inclusion which means bringing different people together to be able to work effectively. In my two years in school, I can have see the lack of diversity in STEM and this can really have negative effects on minorities in STEM. Speaking from experience being a minority in STEM can at times be difficult. Being in a school where over 80% of people aren’t like you can at times be lonely. As stated before, inclusion is important so this means that I should seek to learn about other people’s cultures just as they should learn about mine. At some point, minority students in STEM should not have to continue to conform and immerse themselves in the culture that lies in engineering rather they should be able to effect there culture into it. I believe this is something that is crucial for engineering and could promote real positive change.

      Liked by 1 person

    11. Dr David talked about a variety of subjects that resonated with me such as culture and graduate school. From the stories he was able to tell us he has lived a wonderful/exciting life. The part that mostly is that he said even with all that he has achieved he assured us that we can achieve more than he could with the resources available. I had the opportunity to eat breakfast with him before the meeting where we discussed my interests and goals in teaching and he explained his career in Engineering Education and how it was possibly and avenue I could pursue. Overall I learned a multitude of lesson that can be learned from culture and life experiences especially the destinations they can take you from Grad School to exploring the world.

      Liked by 1 person

    12. My perception of culture was drastically shifted after Dr. Delaine’s talk. During the first exercise, where we were asked to discuss our culture, I thought of culture solely as race. However, we afterwards had an interesting discussion about how culture is fluid, and always changing. If I were to ask myself the question again, I would say that my race certainly plays a role in my culture. However, it is not the sole contributor. My culture is heavenly influenced by my religion, education, friends. I also was introduced to the concept of engineering education. Before, I had a very limited view of what it meant. I was able to ask him questions after the talk, and I discovered that I actually had a deep interest in the topic for a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

    13. Some of my teammates have already discussed most of what I got from Dr. Delaine’s talk. I, however, will add one part that really inspired me. Dr. Delaine started his talk by asking the following question: “Am I a Leader?”. He went through the concept of trying to lead and finally ended with an affirmative answer to the question. In his talk, I realized that everyone is a leader in some way or form. More importantly, in the quest to educate engineering and technology students to build innovative solutions, being a leader is trying to impart knowledge and resources, as well as influence change through and with the people around you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel my presentation culture went really well. I think the way the talk was delivered, in a hotel suite and informally, led to a better discussion. Culture and race can be a very personal and difficult conversation. In order for this session to go well, establishing an open-minded and confidential setting was important. Meeting in the suite helped with these aspects. Additionally, the group was very lively and obviously wanted to learn. I think that I benefitted as a speaker from the warmth and interest of my audience. We perhaps started slowly, but that was quickly overcome and the discussion were really great. The time slot was 3 hours, and this seemed like a big task, however, once the ball was rolling the time flew by. I look forward to expanding on this talk and improving it so that I can deliver it in other settings. Thank you!

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Answer to 7-18-Q3:

    I was intrigued by the brief description of “action research” and how when it was mentioned in the past, not so long ago, it immediately received the argument of: “this is not how we do things here.” The topic of diversity and inclusiveness really resonated as well. I always try to promote, with the classes I am a TA for, the notion of students getting exposed to stuff/activities they have never tried: learning a new language, researching a little bit about other fields outside of engineering, etc. In essence, to find an excuse to why you can’t do something, and remediate it by learning to do that thing you can’t do… at that moment. Lastly, I feel that bringing your culture, who you are, and how you define yourself into every aspect of your life helps you live a more fruitful life, it assists in creating a balanced environment.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. What I have learned from Dr. Delaine is that graduate school is a path for personal development. It is not just a means for fulfilling a requirement to receive a degree. He further discusses that as a grad student, you don’t always have to carry you research with you. You must take time off research and travel the world and immerse yourself in different culture. During you travel however, you should use that time to reflect on your research and personal situation from a different view point. Exploring new ideas in a different culture helps develop you personally and you research. He addresses that we should not follow the norm; do things out side of the box. And to do so, it helps to travel the world and experience new culture. Thank you Dr. Delaine.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. 7-19-Q4: Today was a full day! Kudos to you for your energy. Your questions today have multiple parts. Write a few sentences (~1-2) about an most important aspect of each of the sessions below.

    a. Academic Mobility and Internationalization with Hector Medina and Renetta Tull
    b. “I am a Leader” with Dr. David Delaine
    c. Thinking Outside the Box with Dr. Quadrado
    d. Global Engineering Projects


    * Separate your answers using paragraph spacing and the letters that accompany the topics.
    * Do not repeat something that has already been said. Read through the answers that have been posted and write something different.
    * Give a “thumbs up” to any of the other posts that resonate with you.


    1. a. Academic Mobility and Internationalization with Hector Medina and Renetta Tull

      Financial assistance to go abroad. Be present, be present, be present. Ask a professor. Volunteer to be a conference helper. Seek industry funding by relating your research to an on going project that industry professionals care about. Find top players in your field and get to know their research and them. Befriend as many people as you can in various fields, to has connections that take you far and wide. Vocalize your desire to travel internationally and talk about your research.


      b. “I am a Leader” with Dr. David Delaine

      Are you a leader?
      I believe everyone is a leader in some regard. We are all leaders in some fashion and are often leaders unbeknownst to us. As people, we develop and grow by borrowing and acquiring knowledge and attributes from another person place or thing.

      In my own life I am a leader in my family. I am a young woman and the first of my maternal grandmother’s grandchildren to earn a college education. My role as a leader in my family stems from me taking home and sharing with my family every experience that I have gained in college. That includes knowledge, strength, and travel. I share with my family because they are the people that matter most to me. I want to be able to aid in the growth of our family so that we as a people are able to assist each other input journey through life. My experiences give me the ability to broaden the horizons of those in my family that may feel they have not had the opportunity to do so, whether that be via education or travel, or enjoying a cultural meal other than our own. Being a leader in my family to me means bringing them along for the ride. Making available to them all the information I have on the places and/or persons they may need to engage with in order to follow their passions in life.

      “Trying to lead will take you to new heights.”
      -Dr. David Delaine

      c. Thinking Outside the Box with Dr. Quadrado

      A paper clip can be a common desktop ornament or the next bridge between seas. Thinking outside the box it not allowing your present knowledge to limit your imagination.

      d. Global Engineering Projects

      Dream it, plan it, execute it. From this exercise I was reminded to always remember to build scaleable projects that cater to a problem that is meaningful to the population it is being designed for. Never allow my own ideas to take forefront when designing a project for a population.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. a. Academic Mobility and Internationalization with Hector Medina and Renetta Tull
        Take risks. Show the community that there are people of diverse backgrounds in the field/organization you are in so that they feel more confident to join and participate. Spreading this knowledge is crucial for the support of minorities in the STEM fields because many often are afraid to step up or join because of the lack in persons “like them”

        b. “I am a Leader” with Dr. David Delaine
        Being a leader comes natural for some and takes practice for others. In order to become a successful leader, align yourself with somebody who can help you lead more effectively.

        c. Thinking Outside the Box with Dr. Quadrado
        The importance of not limiting ideas to what we already know is crucial when it comes to concept generation. Divergent and convergent thinking are the two different kinds of thought needed when finding the “best” alternative

        d. Global Engineering Projects
        This exercise allowed me to see which immediate problems we think of. As engineers we are sometime narrow-minded and often go with what we know when it comes to determining problems in the world.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. a. Academic Mobility and Internationalization with Hector Medina and Renetta Tull
      Pursue globalization! It is good for self-discovering and your career. Get your passport, apply for a conference and learn.

      b. “I am a Leader” with Dr. David Delaine
      Everyone can be a leader. Remember to be confident in what you do. Team work!

      c. Thinking Outside the Box with Dr. Quadrado
      Doubt everything and question everything. Be open minded, remember that a good scientist is one that doesn’t limit himself and his curiosity.

      d. Global Engineering Projects
      Work towards big goals, and projects that make an impact in the world.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. 7-19-Q4:

      a. Academic Mobility and Internationalization with Hector Medina and Renetta Tull

      I learned that sometimes getting outside our comfort zone is necessary in order to advance in our careers and in personal level. Just as Dr. Tull recently began traveling internationally, I was always hesitant of meeting international student, and only recently I began reaching out to professors and students from other universities in order to collaborate on research and benefit from their perspective on the subject.

      b. “I am a Leader” with Dr. David Delaine

      I learned that in order to become a leader, I must experience new opportunities and go against the flow. Just as Dr. Delaine traveled to Brazil for post doc against the advice of his peers. Risk taking is a quality of true leadership and it separates leaders from followers. Failure is only one of the hardships in the process of becoming a stronger individual and an effective leader.

      c. Thinking Outside the Box with Dr. Quadrado

      The most important aspect I will take with me from Dr. Quadrado’s talk is the advice to question the “norm”. Everything we as engineers come across needs to be looked at from several perspectives in order to help us optimize our products and satisfy every design metric.

      d. Global Engineering Projects

      The most important aspect for me was the brainstorming session. It truly opened by eyes to how individuals from different backgrounds can come together and generate innovative and intriguing ways to solve challenging environmental and societal problems.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Answer to 7-19-Q4:

      a. Every engineer thinks about changing the World in some way, and one way to approach this is to start fixing “your backyard.” Instead of getting overwhelmed by the grand scheme of things and trying to understand the HUGE picture, take baby steps and solve smaller portions of the big picture at a time.

      b. It is complicated to define, while doing a self-evaluation, if one is a leader. After breaking down the components of the things that someone has accomplished and what has been planned, this self-evaluation shifts a little bit towards what you didn’t consider originally. Everyone can be a leader!

      c. I thought that Dr. Quadrado’s first 3 minutes were fantastic: “here is a box, are you thinking while holding the box, you’re out of the box, so we’re good: thinking outside the box… the talk is over, thank you!” We have to do lateral thinking and break the bias of set rules that limit what we think we can do without having limitations.

      d. I thought that some of these projects were way out there, again, by limitations of what I know can be done with current technology. Others were closer to what communities pursue at present times, and have established programs that execute them. Congratulations to the winning team for suggesting a similar approach to what I believe UMBC already does, which is getting involved with people in prison that want to continue getting educated and get re-introduced back into society.

      Today was a great day to get these many topics into a single long session. It was a plenty of information to comprehend and discuss.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. a. Approach to problem solving depends on the individual. Hector mentioned that problem solving should be taken in modular steps. However, Dr. Tull approaches a problem in an inverted pyramid approach.

      b. As you push yourself to become a better person, your weaknesses are exposed. However, as you expose and work on your weakness, it helps you become a better person and leader.

      c. The barriers to creativity are how you perceive the problem, emotional aspect, lack of diverse cultural, lack of understanding, and environment around you.

      d. I learned that you must find many solutions to problems, some that can be implemented quickly but also have better solutions to the problem that can be implemented in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

    6. A) Academic Mobility and Internationalization

      it is important to let others know what you want to do, so they can assist you in getting there. There are many opportunities available that you may not be able to engage in if you do not let your intentions/desires to be known. There are opportunities to go abroad and enhance your global understanding/viewpoints by putting yourself out there and putting in the work.

      B) “I am a Leader”

      Everyone can be a leader and no one has to lead the same way. There are many ways to lead others, and it is important to know what kind of person you are, and the community that you are in, to be able to lead effectively.

      C) Thinking Outside the Box

      There are always new ways to look at a problem. Don’t let your preexisting bias on a topic stop you from seeing things in a different way.

      D) Global Engineering Projects

      This section put into perspective the many components that go into adapting a project. We were able to discuss problems, and solutions to engineering problems, and then be held responsible to remembering how to reasonably solve this problem, and everyone that would be involved with solving it. For me the most impactful portion was presenting our idea, and then being able to answer question, and show the background thoughts that went into analyzing each of the problems.

      Liked by 1 person

    7. a. Academic Mobility and Internationalization with Hector Medina and Renetta Tull

      One major aspect is to communicate where you want to go, and create an action plan to make it happen. Also the world is very large place with different views so it is important to have as many different global experiences to help see different problems from different perspectives. It is very important to travel for you never know who you are you are going to meet. From this short time I had a chance to talk with Anthony from the University of Costa and we talked about our research and we were both impressed with what we were doing. I did not know of Costa Rica’s use of hydroelectric power and clean energy initiatives. Without events such as FLEEI I would not have learned about engineering issues that affect Costa Rica.

      b. “I am a Leader” with Dr. David Delaine.

      Just by trying and being a leader you are taking a positive step toward personal growth. Everyone will have a different leadership style m but the most important part is putting yourself out there to actually have leadership style. That is something I hope to continue to be mindful and begin putting myself in positions to lead and continue to learn about myself.

      c. Thinking Outside the Box with Dr. Quadrado

      That when thinking of solving problems we have to take away some of our experiences out of the equation and think of it from the stakeholders perspective. Dr. Quadrado brought up an interesting point of drawing a cow from the perspective of a fish. I drew it how I would imagine it rather than the fish would probably think of it. So it is really important to be objective and think outside of yourself and your experiences when solving problems.

      d. Global Engineering Projects

      It was very awesome seeing all of the great ideas being constructed in such a short amount of time. What I got out of it is that there are so many different problems, each of our groups had a distinct problem which was exciting to see. But it was really great seeing how every group tried to attack the global problem. It illustrated that everyone can contribute to solving a global problem.

      Liked by 1 person

    8. a. Academic Mobility and Internationalization with Hector Medina and Renetta Tull

      The most important lesson I was able to get from this panel is to state what you want do and have something as a reason for you to go. It can be as simple as talking to a professor you know or mentioning something to your advisor.

      b. “I am a Leader” with Dr. David Delaine

      I try to be a leader in my daily life doing activities from doing things myself leading my own life the lives of others. I take part in a variety club leadership and never really thought that besides those activities I was being a leader, but now I see leadership applies to a wider scope than I could have imagined.

      c. Thinking Outside the Box with Dr. Quadrado

      Thinking outside the box was fun as it allowed my imagination roam and reminded me that as long as I meet the consumers requirements and specifications. Thinking of a variety of things to do with simple objects was also an excellent exercise in seeing the depth of our observation.

      d. Global Engineering Projects

      The project was stimulating as we had to come up with a problem that applied to society, environmental, and 2 other subjects. An important thing I took away from this project was to work with a simplified process and limited time, but still get to a result nonetheless.

      Liked by 1 person

    9. a. Academic Mobility and Internationalization with Hector Medina and Renetta Tull
      This panel was very informative. It encouraged me to be more vocal about my desire to have more international research and conference experiences.

      b. “I am a Leader” with Dr. David Delaine
      Being a leader creates opportunity to both influence and be influenced by others. We should seek leadership opportunities whenever possible and not be afraid to make mistakes and grow in these experiences.

      c. Thinking Outside the Box with Dr. Quadrado
      This presentation highlighted how we often apply implicit biases to our creative processes. Learning to think outside the box is something that you have to train your brain to do by releasing preconceived notions about what is possible.

      d. Global Engineering Projects
      This project was very informative. I was fortunate to work with two students from Costa Rica which highlighted the cross-cultural experience of this trip. Their passion about their research in wind and energy conservation was applied to an entirely new discipline for our project. It was exciting to create and idea that was truly novel and possible in such a short time frame. We were happy to have such a successful multi-disciplinary perspective in our group. We were really proud of our final idea. I encouraged the students to try to implement this novel project in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

    10. a) The concept of international collaboration was strengthened during this talk. Both Dr. Tull and Hector highlighted the importance of collaboration through their own experiences. I was especially intrigued by the vast connections and opportunities they were able to experience and provide for other students

      b) “I am a Leader” by Dr. Delaine highlighted the interesting concept that we are all lead, and we all lead. After the talk, I brainstormed people who inspired me and who I wanted to be my mentor. I also thought of the characteristics I want to strengthen so that I can be an effective leader.

      c) Thinking outside the box with Dr. Quadrado was an incredibly exciting talk! I learned that perceptions play a huge role in the way we analyze different situations.

      d) Global engineering projects. This was my favorite part of the day. Collaborating with my team was really fun. I was able to make a friend who was local to costa rica, we talked about our different experiences and as a group were able to come up with an interesting topic that got us first place.

      Liked by 1 person

    11. a) From the panel, I learned the importance of visibility. Dr. Tull mentioned the impact of publishing pictures of women in engineering from middle eastern countries. Personally, this was very important to me. I have very conservative religious views. Many of my age mates that I grew up with are housewives. Even though I respect their personal choices, I wanted to be somewhat independent in my life but I hesitated going to a male-dominated field. My parents encouraged me to explore the world and have always pointed out successful professional women who value their faith.
      b) Dr. Delaine mentioned about learning from who you lead. I interpreted this as leadership is democratic, not a dictatorship.
      c) To me, thinking inside the box is a metaphor of thinking based upon your life experiences. For example, i have improvised the use of paper clips as ornaments, sample holders, hair fixers, etc. However, I have never used a paper clip to make bubble wand (from Dr. Reed), a hypothetical bridge to space (Dr. Quadrado), which is thinking outside the box.
      d) Looking back at my group’s project of teaching technology to the youth in prison, I have come to realize that it was in line with the vision of this conference. We are here to learn education techniques to be more inclusive of minorities in the engineering field. Minorities were once marginalized groups of people in society. There has been a lot of effort to change the status quo. Unfortunately, ex-convicts still continue to be marginalized due to stigma. This needs to change by providing rehabilitative educational and technological skills to the imprisoned youth, which has the societal benefit of reducing recidivism.

      Liked by 1 person

    12. a. Academic Mobility and Internationalization with Hector Medina and Renetta Tull

      The most important aspect of this session to me was when Dr. Tull said that what keeps her up at night was finding ways to be a resource to people( especially) her students. She further explained that she is most happy and satisfied when she is able help her students achieve their dreams and/or connect them to others who can help. That was very humbling and eyeopening. It made me think through ways which I can be a resource to others or conect others with my network as well.

      b. “I am a Leader” with Dr. David Delaine

      The most important aspect of this session to me, was when Dr. Delaine talked about how he stepped up to lead. This was when he volunteered to be the chair of a conference which later gave him some experience in mobilizing people to achieve goals. He pointed that leadership requires the acknowledgment that not everyone is led the same way.

      c. Thinking Outside the Box with Dr. Quadrado

      The most important aspect of this session to me, was when after the talk, Dr. Quadrado had done such a good job in guiding us to “thin outside the box” that we started overthinking his last slide which said “The session for today is ended”. The whole point of his talk was to find a balance between divergent thinking and convergent thinking. The former approach is for when you explore as many options as possible while the latter approach is for when you have to narrow in on the best path to proceed.

      d. Global Engineering Projects

      The most important aspect of this session to me was when the judges talked about the factors that went into their decision. The emphasized on the fact that the winning project was ready to implement. That made me think about designing engineering solutions for the future. Often, I have lofty ideas about what a good engineering solution should be. The point of making an impact is to translate lofty theoretical ideas to practical, step-by-step approach.

      Liked by 1 person

    13. a. Academic Mobility and Internationalization with Hector Medina and Renetta Tull

      It is important for people, especially engineers, to be globally conscious. You should always actively speak about your goals to others because it can open up other doors with people that can help you achieve them.

      b. “I am a Leader” with Dr. David Delaine

      In order to be an effective leader, one must learn about the people in the group that you may potentially lead. Everyone is not same and therefore respond to a certain style differently than others. Once learning more about someone you as a leader are able to lead in a way that is a lot more receptive to others.

      c. Thinking Outside the Box with Dr. Quadrado

      We often put limits and constraints into are ideas; however this is negative and does not promote creativity.We must think get rid of these limitations in order to come up with different and innovative ideas.

      d. Global Engineering Projects

      I learned how to give an elevator pitch in concerns to research. The most important thing to remember when doing this is to sell it to the person you are giving the pitch to. The details do not matter as much rather the general ideas and the positive benefits of your idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. A blast from the past … Dr. Delaine (pre-PhD) as an LSAMP BD Fellow – grad student in electrical engineering at Drexel, after presenting his poster on Capitol Hill. Also in the photo, Dr. Miguel Acosta (pre-PhD) former UMBC LSAMP BD Fellow in Chemical Engineering. This was part of a special poster session on The Hill for the nation’s top LSAMP undergraduates and top LSAMP BD Fellows. Schools with National Science Foundation LSAMP programs were only allowed to nominate 1-2 candidates for this national honor.



    1. The majority of the talks that I went to were in Spanish, but I feel like I understood most of what they were trying to say. So at the very least, I learn how to interpret a Spanish presentation and obtain the main points that they were talking about. One of the talks that I found interesting was about how youtube can be used as a good educational tool. They mentioned how short videos online can be used to explain concepts to students. It also mentions the other advantages to using videos, such as “increased communication and collaboration”. Having these sources online also increases organization when trying to recall the location for future use.

      This information can be use outside of the talk as well. Individuals can adapt their learning styles to increase productivity. It may not work for everyone, but having short youtube videos to assist in learning a topic may aid in the overall knowledge in that subject. I would agree to this finding as well based on personal experiences. I have used, and will continue to use, online videos, such as youtube or khan academy, to assist in learning topics that are confusing to me.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The majorityof the talks I sat in were in the Session WIA. One of the talks I found interesting was conducted b Nader Zamani. He discussed the difficulty that he had with teaching his students in a junior-level physics class. The pressure from “the industry” has pushed for the learning of finite element analysis by students. Problems, such as not being able to tell the full difference between static and dynamic systems or the failure to solve problems only at solid level, are issues that his students faced. Throughout his speech he described different topics that his students had a hard time trying to grasp. Although Zamani’s talk did not necessarily have a clear conclusion, I gained a lot from it. I learned that as an engineer it is extremely important to think outside of the box and always question situations. In engineering, you must always think and take the time to make sure that you are thinking of all the possibilities a problem may have.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I attended the “Technology for Teaching and Learning” session today. I was most impressed with the technology used to design and build a remote laboratory for engineering students to test their circuitry knowledge in a virtual environment to them, yet their designs are carried out in real time on a remote server connected to actual hardware systems in Norway. What I found most interesting was the computer scientist in the group was the person making the presentation to a group of engineers, while the EE on the project watched from the back of the room. It was great to see that pair needed each other to make a difference in the lives of their students. The session reiterated the views of both plenary speakers this morning, which was that team work and the bringing together or multiple disciplines and backgrounds can make a greater impact on both present and future research. This conference has motivated me to be more vocal about my own research and experiences so that I can begin form a more collaborative research portfolio. I believe the remote laboratory design can be used for to test student knowledge, as well as professor performance and their ability to convey their expertise effectively to their students. This technology can also be used to give students the freedom to test their designs and knowledge without the pressure of feeling like they have to get their system designs right on the first try.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Today, I attended the breakout session titled: Technology for Teaching and Learning. I found the presentation on Remote laboratories in engineering education – an overview of implementation and feasibility by Dr. Samuelsen and Dr. Graven from the University College of Southeast Norway especially interesting. I found this talk very informative because the presenter was very motivated about how experiential educational practices can be used to improve learning outcomes in Engineering courses. His remote lab incorporated a pedagogy that hopes to make education more fun, have students spend more time and therefore learn more while garnering continuous feedback on their progress. He discussed the different types of remote labs (realistic vs. schematic) used in his program. He was able to demonstrate a lab for circuitry theory education that would allow students from his institution as well as other schools, to have a virtual lab experience without the physical challenges that often arrive in these settings.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Answer to 7-20-Q5:

      I tried to attend several interested presentations in two main groups, but decided to stay at the “Enhancing Undergraduate Education I” section moderated by Dr. Iván Esparragoza. The first speaker explained how they, him and his group, have been developing an adaptive method for testing the Statics course in Engineering. Dr. Restrepo Ochoa showed us how by implementing a very similar testing method used for standardized tests (TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, etc.) and guiding the difficulty of the questions depending on the performance of the student they can determine with a lower, in average, number of questions the understanding of a student regarding a specific topic. It shows, for the small tests they have done, that it is a better evaluation tool compared to standard linear testing methods.

      I think I can apply some of this information towards gaging the amount of interest and understanding of my students during our laboratory sections. It should be a great indicator of the fundamentals that they already know, and a great tool to comprehend the ability they have to understand the material having time constraints.

      Liked by 1 person

    6. The first talk I attended was in the session of Enhancing Undergraduate Education I by Dr. Nader G. Zamani. In his talk, Dr. Zamani described the pitfalls of the students in his finite element class (FEA). His discussion of various pitfalls included specific examples of mistakes carried out in commercial FEA software such as Abaqus and Ansys. His talk reminded me the importance of understanding the mechanics behind using such high level powerful softwares since I use the same tools in my research.

      Another interesting talk I was able to attend was in the Sustainable Engineering I session by Dr. Humberto Alvarado. His presentation was on causal analysis of the interdependencies of critical infrastructure in Panama. With the help of Hector Medina in translating the material, I was able to comprehend the technical content. From Dr. Alvarado’s talk, I learned that advanced computational tools can be successfully used in modeling the relationship of various systems in the infrastructure of a country with a rapidly growing economy such as Panama.

      Liked by 1 person

    7. I attending the parallel technical session on sustainability engineering. Each of the presentations were said in Spanish, but I was able to follow along by reading through the presentations and piecing words and idea together. One thing I learned was that there is a problem with communication with critical infrastructures in Columbia. So in times of crisis there is a need for better communication between municipalities to prevent chaos. Also there as another presentation focused on the degredation of a polymer known as poly-lactic acid (PLA). From that presentation I learned a great deal about a kinetics equation that illustrated that the break down of PLA is a function of temperature and molecular weight. My research that i will be presenting on tomorrow will feature PLA so it was interesting to learn a new fact regarding PLA. While another presentation focused on the . The most important takeaway was the manner in which each person presented. It was not the typical presentation, it felt more as a critical review rather than solving specific problems. I learned how different countries attack problems and how they present. I also learned what countries were focused on with respect to sustainability. While Columbian’s are focused on infrastructure communication, a presenter from Honduras was focused on trash removal of PLA. It was very interesting experiencing the technical session from a perspective of a different language, as I was learning about the language while understanding the presentation.

      Liked by 1 person

    8. I have attended multiple presentations in different sessions. The sessions include enhancing undergraduate education, industrial engineering, sustainable engineering and energy. One of presentation that I enjoyed was “Survey on technologies to implement battery emulators based on DC/DC power converter” by Ruben Hidalgo Leon et al. in the energy session. His presentation was on modeling of charging and discharging of batteries that are used in many alternative energy applications (eg. Storing energy for solar and wind power). To be able to use different types of batteries in different application, understanding how the batteries behave under different charging and discharging cycles are important. However, there are infinite possibilities of charging and discharging paths and thus real life testing is impractical and expensive. Consequently, the authors reviewed the positive benefits of different models to predict the behavior of batteries in different applications. The major benefits are low cost, environmentally friendly and results regarding battery behavior can be obtained quickly. In addition to using simulations in battery design, many researchers in different fields are currently implanting simulations in other applications. I feel that this presentation introduced me to innovative modeling techniques in solving engineering problems.

      Liked by 1 person

    9. I attended the breakout session for Technology in Teaching and Learning 1. One talk was centered around Remote Labs to familiarize students with analog electronics. I, for the first time, learned about remote labs and what they are. They are very useful for classrooms what have a lot of students and limited equipment. Remote labs will get students engaged and help them understand how circuits work with real time data while catering to a lot of student’s learning styles. The one things I can see being negatively effected by remote labs is the understanding of students who are kinesthetic learners because the electronics will already be built for them. I would like to, in some way, incorporate a hands-on portion into the remote lab lesson plan so that the students will be able to still build the circuit or some similar so that they can understand what tests are being run through the remote simulation and what

      Another talk that I sat in on during this parallel session was Cryptography and Cryptanalysis and how to teach it so that students will be able to understand it better. I learned that lot of students are able to absorb the concept of cryptography more when the background. This talk was focused on how we all use or have used cryptography in our lives and showing rail fence Cipher encryption method and how the teacher uses it to get students into understanding how interesting coding and decoding is. This information has shown me different types of encryption styles and a different perspective on the fact that we use cryptography and cryptanalysis all of the time whether it is indirectly or not, simple or complicated. Showing students or even your every day person that we often think about thins will hopefully encourage more people to go into technological fields or pass it on.

      Liked by 1 person

    10. I went to the technology in learning session. I liked how two of the presentations were on teaching object oriented programming to students. I had a hard time learning programming with the actual software. If i had access to apps such as Alice, Scratch, Greenfoot, FlowUmi, SICAS, etc., i probably would not have the fear of programming that i experience in a project. These apps are very friendly and introduce the subject in a fun, game-like way.

      Liked by 1 person

    11. 7-20-Q5: Please discuss the session that you attended during this morning’s parallel session, after our meeting. Include what you learned, and how you will use the information.

      Yesterday after the Plenary session, I had the opportunity to attend several sessions. In particular, I was interested in Enhancing Undergraduate Education and Technology for Teaching and Learning.

      The most important points from the sessions where an idea to create a standardized test for undergraduate students taking probability class. This is a project a professor from the University of Madrid is trying to develop. He suggested giving the students of engineering a test in which when they fail a question it changes the level of difficulty, and when they answer correctly the level changes to make it more challenging, this gives the professor opportunity to learn the strengths and weaknesses.

      On the second session what I thought was interesting was a presentation from the university of Norway, the professor explained an application they developed regarding a common emitter amplifier circuit. This site is called Remote Lab BJT, and it provides instant feedback on the behavior of the voltages throughout the circuit based on the variation of the values of its components (resistors, capacitors). This is something that is very similar to the software uses in Electrical Engineering courses (digital laboratories), but it allows the students to “play” with the numbers without having to create the circuit. It is designed for a specific problem (circuit set-up).

      Liked by 1 person

    12. I attended the Technology for Teaching and Learning session. I found it very inspirational to see different method to teach programming and electronics. Each speaker had a specific method to teaching young children. I enjoyed learning about remote electronic labs to see results, cryptographic programs, and various other programs to teaching coding. I talked with several of the presenter and got their contact information and plan to ask them if I can assist in their projects and I will use them in teaching programming to younger stem students in my area.

      Liked by 1 person

    13. I attended the session for enhancing engineering teaching through technology. During the sessions, I got to see professors from all over the world share their contributions to engineering technology. Specifically, some professors had designed video games to teach students how to code. Another professor created a circuit simulator for college students to learn the ins and outs of electrical engineering. Afterwards, some of us stayed after to talk about ways to improve this technology using our own experiences in college.


  12. Hello all–

    The following are comments that USM students made during the impromptu reflection session that took place after the LACEEI Conference Opening and morning Plenary. These comments were in regards to Dr. Louis Martin-Vega’s keynote speech, and Dr. Jaime Calderon Segovia’s presentation. Students were posed the questions: “What did you get from either of the morning session talks?” and “What stood out to you?”

    After each comment, I placed the talk that the comment referred to in parentheses. Dr. Martin-Vega’s talk is #1, and Dr. Calderon Segovia’s talk is #2.

    Please see the comments below:

    *Intrigued by the various types of research taking place at NC State, some of which you’ve never heard of (#1)

    *Interest neuromuscular rehab engineering laboratory work (had never heard of it prior to that session); (#1)

    *Intrigued by the emphasis that Dr. Calderon Segovia placed on how socioeconomic factors contribute to a country’s societal structure. (#2)

    *Intrigued by the different categories of engineering, and their relation back to global sustainability (#1)

    *Liked the comment made by Dr. Calderon Segovia referring to the fact that his country may not ever be the leader in the field of microelectronics, but emphasized the point that his country is still able to use that technology (#2)

    *Liked the discussion of the importance of international collaboration. In particular, the tangible support and investment in international collaboration through several funding opportunities highlighted in presentation (#1)

    *Co-signed comment on the great deal of money being used to facilitate the aforementioned programs (#1)

    *Enjoyed the reference to the book “The World is Flat” with respect to the current collaboration practices of the world…it is “more flat” at the moment due to the lack of collaboration across borders (#1)

    *Liked the emphasis placed on the importance of engineers to interact with their community (#2)

    *The quote “National phenomenon has become national disaster” was powerful (#?)

    *Very much enjoyed reference to George Carlin quote regarding the point that global technology is flattening (#1)

    *Main takeaway was the importance of global collaboration and the importance of its need. Society should be more engaged and inclusive.


    It is my sincere hope that I fully captured the essence of each of your responses. If not, please feel free to reply to this post with any corrections or additions.


    Liked by 1 person

  13. Here is tomorrow’s big session. Please share with your friends and colleagues. Ask them to tweet a comment or resource about career-life balance and engineering. If you have at least three tweets with relevant information about the session (2:30 – 4:30 PM, Alcazar II; must include the hashtags in the tweet below), you can embed your tweets into the blog, which will serve as your entry for the day. We also encourage you to retweet things that resonate with you.



    1. In my opinion, having compassion for one another as human beings is an issue that we as a people struggle with. A life is a life and we all deserve equality. While compassion has not been a characteristic displayed equally among the cultures of race, ethnicity, gender, and opinion, the right to ask to be treated equally among all mankind will always be. However, it is important that those who choose to enact their agenda publicly remember that there are consequences both good and bad to stimulating change and change does not occur instantaneously. If you are one that is willing to fight publicly and share your opinions, please be willing to allow those fighting for change privately to go about their agenda in a manner that is their own. Be compassionate towards your own agenda while being compassionate to the agendas that may agree and disagree with your own culture.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LSAMP in Costa Rica for @LACCEI2016 #LACCEI #ThinkBigDiversity @NSF_EHR @NSF – University System of Maryland LSAMP


  14. 7-21-Q6: Thank you for your participation today! Please discuss your thoughts on the Career-Life Balance session. Please be detailed and complete in your comments.

    a. What did you learn?
    b. How did it affect you?
    c. How do you see your role in supporting women in STEM? Please be specific and detailed. (Consider the LACCEI president’s comments.)

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The part of the talk that resonated with me the most was when Dr. Parades Verduga mentioned a girl who was crying at her college graduated how she said it was because “my father doesn’t know I am going to be a mechanical engineer”. She had lied about what she was learning to her parents because they did not approve of her being an engineer. Dr. Verduga mentioned how this was only 7 years ago in Ecuador, and this information made me realize how ignorant I am about how strong gender roles across the world. I already knew that there are stereotypical male and female roles in different societies, but I was unaware to what degree. After realizing the amount of bias I am more inspired to be more proactive in fighting more equal rights. My goal is to continue to be a “male ally” both as I pursue my PhD, and as I start my career as an engineer.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Today during the Career-Life Balance session I learned about some of the challenges facing women in education and career. I also learned that even those fighting to make a different in the area of women’s rights and culture are not always compassionate. The ability of women is far greater than what has been programmed into her psyche from birth via experience and/or culture. Allowing ones self to reach her full potential is in her own hands and no noun should be used as an excuse to allow barriers to hinder self motivation and perseverance. During my discussions today with various researchers, after having voiced her opinion, a young woman was labeled because of her views. While the labeling could have been viewed as either good or bad depending upon one’s perception, it made the conversation and environment uncomfortable. Compassion was nonexistent during this discussion. Had it been present, I believe we could have collectively shared our opinions and left with insight into how no two people may share the same opinion always in every debate yet and still, we can respect the differences of opinion. As a woman in STEM, my journey through education and career experiences can be viewed as stepping stones for those coming behind me with at minimum access points to explore where my impressions have been made.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. While I was not able to participate in the career life balance session due to the poster session. I can comment on how I see myself in supporting women in STEM. At UMBC I was able to participate in an organization called center for women in technology (CWIT). There I was able to have constructive conversations about the experiences of women in STEM. I feel that even though I am leaving for Virginia Tech I feel that I can be a supporter of women in STEM, such as promoting outreach events such as First Lego League’s for girls in elementary and middle school to promote gender diversity in STEM. Also becoming an undergraduate mentor for women in STEM is something I feel will be important in being a positive force for women in STEM. It is also important to make sure that my colleagues are supportive of women in STEM as well. I really wish I could have been able to experience the talk!

      Liked by 1 person

    4. In the Career-Life Balance session today, I learned the many different factors that hinders the “starting point” of equal pay, equal treatment, and maternity leave for women and women. I have been told some of these factors in the past, but I have never thought of them from the perspectives I heard in the discussion. Some of these ideas I’ve never thought about because I have never been in the situation. Power is a main factor because men are the carriers of the majority of power and wealth of the world. This turns into a situation where men are able to tell us what they deem acceptable when it comes to women. Their views start in the home, are driven by fear of the “unpaved trail” in the workplace, and shift and culture and power. There is also pressure instilled in women in competitive work environments where there is one spot for women, but 10 women who will work long hours, push back family duties, and not have that C-L Balance because they want to “succeed” by the definition that society has deemed acceptable. This affected me in many ways because at times, I feel hopeless that nothing will change, nobody will be accountable for the unfair treatment off women until somebody is there to hold others accountable. As a women who may or may not go through gender discrimination in the future, I know that I will mentor other women because I believe in “passing the torch”. I was mentored and I was told about the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in the STEM fields. I will pass that information on while offering solutions to mitigate these disadvantages. Aside from mentoring, I see myself being an open ear and safe space to those women who need it. I also will try my best to walk the line when it comes to voicing my opinion on policies that will be set in place. I will practice until I find out how far I will be able to go before I am able to make a change without threatening my job and career.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. 7-21-Q6

      a. During the Career-Life Balance Session I learned that the US is the only developed country that does not have a paid maternity leave. I was also introduced to UMBC’s innovative flexible family support plan which enables faculty to take maternity leave for both male and female members. This new facts make me more aware in the impact educational institutions such as UMBC have on the community.

      b. The thing that affected me the most was the response of Dr. Watford to one of the audience question about promoting women in jobs that are usually regarded as male dominated field. The response of Dr. Watford was to embrace the diversity between men and women. We need to be aware that as individuals we have physical limitation that prevent us from certain jobs but collectively we need to change the stereotypes associated with women being limited to a particular jobs.

      c. In general, I regard myself as an advocate for diversity not only In STEM but in any field in which people work together to create, and advance science and education. With this attitude, I believe that when women in STEM are being held back and are not allowed to participate in STEM fields, the progression of our collective knowledge and scientific advancement is being slowed down and possibly reversed. Dr. Verduga shared her experiences as a female engineering faculty in a male dominated school (ESPOL) in her home country of Ecuador. She mentioned the progress in which she as a woman had in academia due to the new policy passed in Ecuador for sex equality in academic institutions. She also talked about the culture in Ecuador which regards STEM fields as male dominated and not appropriate for women to participate in. This opened my eyes on how the mentality of people affects women in STEM fields. It also made me see how our each small individual efforts for equality can ripple into a larger force that can improve the life of people on a global level.

      Liked by 1 person

    6. a. I understood just a little bit more of the woman struggle between life and work balance and was pleasantly surprised about the efforts UMBC has put in place.

      b. The event made me want to see moreof the women perspective on the STEM fields that I already look at in my daily classroom.

      c. I support everyone I see male or female to join a STEM field even if they have a tiny spectacle of interest. If it was a girl who is or was scared I encourage them to stand for what they want and take nothing less. “There are no male jobs, there are no female jobs, there is only work”

      Liked by 1 person

    7. a. What did you learn? I learned that there are various initiatives at schools to accommodate women in STEM in order to facilitate more holistic and balanced life/work experiences. I also learned that there are women worldwide that are experiencing biased and limitations around achievement in the academy due to cultural and power structures currently in play. Sometimes we as women often carry these biases and can perpetuate them as a form of cognitive dissonance but if we are willing to have discussions among each other we can become change agents that will facilitate small cultural changes that will lead to policies and implementation necessary to make inroads for women in STEM. I also was happy to learn that the LGBTQ community is being considered in STEM political initiatives.

      b. How did it affect you? I was happy to attend the panel and to see that this is an important dialogue for the LA STEM community. I was inspired to see women that have a similar path as myself, in positions of power and authority who also are willing to challenge systems toward gender equity. It was also difficult to hear stories that mimic my own struggles as a women in STEM trying (and feeling unsuccessful) to balance work/academic progress with family life.

      c. How do you see your role in supporting women in STEM? Please be specific and detailed. (Consider the LACCEI president’s comments.) I see my role as an active change agent in creating opportunities for women in STEM not just to advance in their academic/career goals but also to be able to feel cultural in their personal ‘feminine’ expressions in this environments. I have participated and initiated Women In STEM initiatives at Bowie State, UMES and during internship in Kenya. I recall working with a group of elementary students on an outreach project and noticing that the male students would take the leadership roles while the girls would sit quietly. I made a comment to the staff mentors (males) about this observation to which they responded “It is okay because the girls are the highest academic performers in the end”. I did not feel comfortable challenging this issue further in an environment outside my culture, I was happy to be able to plant a seed of awareness that maybe will take root in the future. I see that it is not just important for women to be proficient in our various disciplines but also that we have equal opportunity to leadership and authority in these environments as well. I will continue to work as an advocate to increase women’s voices in professional environments. I look forward to moving forward as a researcher at a women’s college where I can further this initiative.

      Liked by 1 person

    8. a) The career life balance session was one of my favorite talks of the conference. The panel, in particular, displayed a diverse set of leaders who were striving for women’s issues, particularly in academia. I heard from Dr. Reed the depth of UMBC’s commitment to this issue. Previously, I was not aware that UMBC had so many tactics in place to support women faculty. I also learned about other organizations, in the United States and America, that have similar agendas. I think that the conference highlighted again the need for international collaboration. There is a lot that groups can learn from each other. b) Listening to the talk helped me to think about ways that I can change my workplace and environment. C) Specifically, I can see an opportunity to get more involved with organizations at my workplace that support women’s issues, and volunteer or attend LACCEI and other conferences

      Liked by 1 person

    9. a)
      I learned that the USA is the only developed country without paid maternity/paternity leave. Programs at UMBC and VA tech have generous plans compared to other companies.

      -I think that the reason why the USA does not have paid maternal leave is because the American population is not decreasing in comparison to that of Japan and Germany. Therefore, the government does not need to force companies for incentives for their citizens to reproduce.

      -I would like to know if there is any ‘fine print’ or ‘complications’ of the addition-in-family (birth, adoption, elderly care, patient care) paid leave programs:
      Does the employee have to commit to work at the company for certain number of years?
      Is there any occurrence of overuse/misuse of the program? How do you deter such?
      Are there any complaints of people who will not need to use the program who might see as though their peers are getting paid time off?

      I was surprised by how quickly some women in some companies return to work so quickly after giving birth. This is very unhealthy for the family as a unit.

      -However, as much as I value companies that are friendly to career-life balance. I think it can go too far. For example, some companies offer egg-freezing programs. To me, it sends a message that women should focus completely on their work with disregard to their biology clocks because they can still get a healthy baby in their 50s when they are at the highest positions of the corporate ladder. Younger professionals may feel pressured because they no longer have ‘an excuse.’

      To support women in STEM, I act like myself. I do not feel the pressure to dress/act/talk girly/boyish as what people would expect from me. In that way, another woman can feel comfortable in their own personality.

      Liked by 1 person

    10. In the session today, I learned the great advancements that UMBC and the other Maryland-system institutions have made in the care-taking of faculty members. The Faculty Family Support Plan is an extremely well-drawn out plan. I did not know that faculty members were assured a minimum 8 weeks of paid maternity/paternity leave and I also did not know that there was a one year extension of the time for tenure review for new parents. What this allowed me to realize was the amount of care that these institutions have for its faculty members, as well as the strong understanding they have in the idea of Career Life Balance. The ease knowing that a person’s job is not hanging in the balance if they make the decision to have a baby is an extremely important factor in a person choosing to work and stay at an establishment. It also increases the loyalty and trust between that person and the organization. I admire the Maryland University-system greatly for this.
      I believe that there should be equal opportunities for all people regardless of gender, race or any other characteristics. Therefore I have just as important a role in supporting women in STEM as I do supporting African-Americans in STEM. I will continue to cape and scream support for women in STEM, as well as include and recommend them for any opportunities I can.

      Liked by 1 person

    11. I did not attend the Career-life balance session as it was conflicting with my poster presentation time. I can comment on what I learned during my poster session. I did learn a lot from different questions that audience had. One of the questions was regarding how to quantify students learning and to access that the methodology presented works better than the “conventional” method of teaching solid mechanics and materials lab. This was a great question because we want to remove any bias results from our quantification but this can be very difficult. In addition, one of the best part is the enthusiasm that the audience had regarding our research. This really gave us motivation to continue this research.


  15. 7-22-Q7 (Final): Thank you for participating in this project! This is the last set of questions. Please respond to all questions by 5 PM on Monday, July 25, 2016.

    a. How did the ecological excursion at La Paz influence your views on global sustainability?

    b. What did you learn from interactions with the group (Maryland delegation + guest mentor Dr. Delaine)? Give at least three detailed examples.

    c. Project 10 years into the future. Explain how the experience in Costa Rica this week could have an influence on your future (STEM) self.

    d. What did you learn from others outside of our delegation, e.g., other conference attendees?

    e. How will the experience in Costa Rica this week affect your immediate future? Provide at least three detailed examples about things that may affect your actions within the next two weeks, as a result of this trip.

    Thank you for participating!


    1. a. How did the ecological excursion at La Paz influence your views on global sustainability?

      The excursion to La Paz added to my view of global sustainability in that I was able to see how people around the world maintain a living based on naturally occurring products. I was able to see how coffee, a natural product of Costa Rica, grows naturally and uninhibited in many places throughout the country. I was able to see how natural foods keep the population fed on a large scale. Many of those the lived along the country side, owned and harvested their own produce or farms. Doing so appeared to keep the environment rich and in a constant thrive because of the lack of industrial manufacturing in the area.

      b. What did you learn from interactions with the group (Maryland delegation + guest mentor Dr. Delaine)? Give at least three detailed examples.

      Research is dynamic and its is talking place globally. As scientists we have to start thinking about the global impact our research will have on the lives of those we are creating it for.

      Culture is multifaceted and as an individual my culture is constantly adapting.

      The United States of America is a melting pot of individuals and cultures. A result of having such a diverse land, is that no one place can claim ownership to the cultures that have emerge as a result of one borrowing influences from various cultures and making them their own. Globally, we will soon as a people we will loose the ability to identify based where a person, place, or thing it originally from.

      c. Project 10 years into the future. Explain how the experience in Costa Rica this week could have an influence on your future (STEM) self.

      My experience in Costa Rica has broaden my ability to respect people and their individually. It was nice to see that people around the world are fighting got the same things in life. As I grow and mature as a women in STEM, I am loosing the desire to prove that I belong. I am however, gaining the confidence in my own ability to know that I belong in STEM and am allowing my research and work to prove my worth and value. I have learned that there are multiples ways of growing as a researcher and having my head constantly in a book or running an experiment is not the only way to go about it.Globally exploration is a great way to gain insight and perspective as researcher and is a great way to go about forming research questions or addressing research challenges.

      d. What did you learn from others outside of our delegation, e.g., other conference attendees?

      English is spoken around the world, however, people that do not speak English as a first language value their native tongue as much as I do. I was truly mesmerized by how so many of the conference attendees could fluidly converse in both English and Spanish. Their conversations were fluid as they were able to switch between languages as the need arose. As a lover of foreign language I can only aspire to be as well versed in a secondary language and be able to speak about my research with fluency and ease in the coming years.

      e. How will the experience in Costa Rica this week affect your immediate future? Provide at least three detailed examples about things that may affect your actions within the next two weeks, as a result of this trip.

      Immediately I have gained a deeper respect for Spanish speakers in the USA that do not speak English as well as one would like, so I will continue to speak patient and understanding when these situations arise.

      As a researcher I will take a more inclusive approach to solving the challenges posed in my lab. For example, seeking the perspective of a fellow researcher that may not be faced with the challenges I face, but who may be able to offer a varying perspective than my own.

      I am challenging myself to be more open about my opinions. I often smile and listen intently during open discussions. Being in Costa Rica, it was reiterated to me that not everyone has the same opinion. However, if the dominant person in the room is the only one assertive enough to voice their opinion, then my own will never be considered as food for thought to the audience.

      Finally, in my opinion knowing when you have said enough and allowing other to speak in a must in a group setting. Always offering an opinion, be it good or bad, can have negative unintended consequences surrounding one’s good-nature in a group. I feel this is also true for those that remain bashful or blase.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. a. The ecological excursion to the waterfalls at La Paz showed me more of how many places in Latin America are kept without the least disturbance from major city developments. This park is about 1.5 hours away from San Jose, and it is very close to the Poás Volcano. It is a great demonstration of how some investment and educated preparation can go a long way into preserving natural habitats.

      b. I learned that even though we all have a similar goal: “achieve something greater, get a better (and higher) education, etc.”, we aren’t all on the same page regarding the mindset of how to accomplish it, and how to travel through these experiences. We discussed a little bit about potential path towards tenure, and some methods seemed more out there than others.

      I also discovered that most of our group had never traveled outside of the United States. It was a little bit shocking since, while growing up in Mexico, we believe that the United States offers more opportunities to travel, plus it is more affordable.

      As an add-on to the previous thought, I enjoyed hearing that most of our group was eager to visit Latin America. Many of the participants have had some exposure to Latin American culture, and loved it, and that was one of the reasons they were excited to visit Costa Rica.

      c. After having a closer interaction with students, and previous undergraduate students, I have been able to see a more direct impact of the discussions we have while they take the courses I teach. I get to explain experiences in graduate school and why we do what we do, and I would definitely love to keep pushing people to improve themselves. I would like to somehow enable people to achieve their dreams, just what Dr. Renetta Tull said during our FLEEI panel discussion.

      d. I learned that there is a great demand to improve engineering education. Campuses across Latin America are trying to collaborate and make a bigger, broader impact on what they do. There is a great desire to improve research facilities and make laboratories more accessible to get students interested in working on grand challenges. I also heard of many participants the dream of getting a higher education (either a Masters or Doctorate) in the United States; they would love to know about opportunities to discover the US.

      e. Starting this week, I will inform my boss/mentor about potential collaboration opportunities with Dominican Republic and Mexico regarding radiation protection in the clinical environment. One of the presenters at the conference provided information about a conference that is being held this year (in a couple of months) about radiation detection and protection.

      I will push myself harder to complete my PhD proposal, since I decided that I really really really want this (like REALLY!), so I have to move closer to graduation to enable myself for more opportunities.

      We will most likely start sketching ideas for next year’s LACCEI (Saadi and I talked about how we can build up on our presentation). We will probably file an IRB to obtain data that will help us show how effective is the method we have been implementing during our laboratory sections.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. a. How did the ecological excursion at La Paz influence your views on global sustainability?

      -I was fascinated by the beauty of Costa Rica – there was green all around me. I was expecting to see some urban sprawl in the capital of San Jose. Also, Dr. Delaine told us that the people burn their own trash. I was expecting to see random fires/smoke and trash scattered around the street especially during this rainy season, when it is difficult to keep a fire going. Maybe next time I visit Costa Rica, I will focus on the environmental sustainability because from my google search, I found that Costa Rica is #2 just behind Switzerland. That is impressive for such a small country.

      b. What did you learn from interactions with the group (Maryland delegation + guest mentor Dr. Delaine)? Give at least three detailed examples.

      -Costa Ricans show their philosophy of life by the phrase “Pura Vida”. I think it captures all cultures around the world because life is about accepting who we are, celebrating the good moments, and living to the fullest.
      -Don’t be afraid to go the untraditional route. (Doing a postdoc in a location where he was an expert rather than in a lab full of world experts)
      -I become a leader when I try to lead
      -I am a work in progress constantly. “Find yourself. Develop yourself. Find yourself…”

      c. Project 10 years into the future. Explain how the experience in Costa Rica this week could have an influence on your future (STEM) self.

      -At one point in my life, I would like to be an educator. Many of the talks were on pedagogy. I will look back to this trip in learning how to lead and to teach difficult subjects using technology.

      d. What did you learn from others outside of our delegation, e.g., other conference attendees?

      -I learned that volcanoes are helpful in Costa Rica’s agriculture. I could not have understood any benefits of volcanoes without seeing the results myself and listening to other students and tour guide to La Paz.

      e. How will the experience in Costa Rica this week affect your immediate future? Provide at least three detailed examples about things that may affect your actions within the next two weeks, as a result of this trip.

      -I found the speakers to be wonderful presenters. I like how the ppt were in English, while the presenter spoke in Spanish. It was very inclusive and it made the presenter interact with the audience instead of reading from the slides.
      -I am currently the instructor for ESTEEM/SER-QUEST program for rising high school seniors who are prospective UMD students. I taught brief intro to circuits, physics, calculus, and programming. The first week of class I went over how to think outside the box in engineering problem solving. I gave them a scenario where they had to measure the height of a tall tree without climbing up with a measured string. After much thought, I received smart solutions from the students. I plan to share the fun resources of learning programming (Scratch, Alice, etc). For the last day of class, I will do the activities of thinking outside the box as we did in FLEEI. I am very excited about this !! 🙂
      -I am thinking about my future employment… I will look into postdocs abroad.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Follow up –

        I tried the thinking outside the box activities with high school students. Here is what they came up with:

        Unconventional uses of spoon – put in your nose/ears like an alien, shape guide for drawing eye brows

        unconventioanl uses of paperclip – make a compass (if magnetic paperclip), doll house hanger, make weapons, make a hammock


    4. a. The ecological excursion to La Paz introduced me to new species of birds and animals I did not know existed prior to the visit. In addition to leaning about the endangered species at La Paz I immediately grew more awareness to the pristine natural wonders that exists in a small place that is not too far from a major Central American city. This made me realize that preserving our natural habitat is crucial especially with the current rate of globalization and development that puts these natural wonders at risk.

      b. From interactions with the group I learned more about the field of engineering education. From our talks with Dr. Delaine I was introduced to the impact engineering education has on underrepresented minorities especially in the STEM field. I also learned about new approaches and possibilities of conducting research and how I can contribute to engineering education.

      I gained a new perspective on faculty members from my interaction with Dr. Bell and Dr. Nias. I learned the ups and down new faculty members face on a daily basis in their respective department. These interactions made me consider pursuing a career in academia after I graduate.

      I learned about the ambitions and aspiration of the undergraduate students on our trip and the quality of research they already have under their belt. I was immensely impressed by the quality of research of Sara, Roy and Elise.

      c. The experience in Costa Rica introduce me to international research conducted in Latin America, new promising researches in STEM and to new possibilities for future research and career. I believe that ten years from now I could be holding a faculty position and mentoring new graduate students in mechanical engineering. The experience of attending LACCEI 2016 motivated me to reach out to the international community and search for new collaboration in order to benefit and advance research in both technical and educational reasons.

      d. From meeting many undergraduate and graduate students attending the conference, I learned about the variety of research conducted throughout Latin America. I also learned about the difference between the academic cultures in Latin American and the US.

      e. One of the things that will affect me in my immediate future is my talk with Dr. Ivan Esparragoza. In our talk, I was introduced to new concepts relevant to my research and previous research that could help me approach my problems from a different perspective.

      The interaction with the wonderful people in the delegation helped me network and form new friendships. It gave me a new perspective on the importance of sharing experiences between graduate and undergraduate students. I will carry this new perspective with me to UMBC with the hope of connecting to students around me who I never interacted with prior to this trip.

      This trip also opened my eyes to the diversity of people in the academic field and Universities around the world. From now I will be more attentive to the people around me at my University and be more considerate to the cultural differences of international students on my campus.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. a. How did the ecological excursion at La Paz influence your views on global sustainability?
      Every time I step into a jungle or any type of natural environment I do my best to give my respect and love to my environment and receive the energy and love from the nature around me. It is important to continually seek these opportunities because while living in a city, these connections can be easily forgotten. This connection has continued to push me towards living a life guided by sustainable practices. I constantly think about how I can leave a smaller negative footprint on the environment. These experiences are important reminders.
      b. What did you learn from interactions with the group (Maryland delegation + guest mentor Dr. Delaine)? Give at least three detailed examples.
      I learned many things from the group. I was reminded that I do my work for human purposes. While the research and publications will drive career success, my personal goals are to help people. It will take some effort to have these align well and be complementary, but if I can find great students like those in the program it will not be a problem.
      c. Project 10 years into the future. Explain how the experience in Costa Rica this week could have an influence on your future (STEM) self.
      I can potentially see some of the students I met and myself having sustained and positive relationships. Perhaps in my lab as ph.d. candidates or graduated doctors, perhaps as research collaborators. I am inspired to continue to pursue opportunities and perhaps begin to perform rigorous research in the intersection of culture and academic success.
      e. How will the experience in Costa Rica this week affect your immediate future? Provide at least three detailed examples about things that may affect your actions within the next two weeks, as a result of this trip.
      In my immediate future I will try and hold onto the energy and inspiration provided to me by the delegation to do my work as well as I can. We have a purpose and a mission. I will continue to do my part for my diversity in STEM and academia and for more equality in our society.

      Liked by 1 person

    6. a. How did the ecological excursion at La Paz influence your views on global sustainability?

      I personally really enjoyed the trip to La Paz. My favorite part was being able to hold a toucan on my arm, but there was many other animals to see, and wildlife to appreciate. I also found the tour to and from La Paz very informative. We were able to see the continental divide, the valleys, the volcanoes, and hear detailed explanations on all of them. It is refreshing to see such different wildlife and it makes me want to do what I can to ensure that it will be there for a while.

      b. What did you learn from interactions with the group (Maryland delegation + guest mentor Dr. Delaine)? Give at least three detailed examples.

      Since I was in an new unfamiliar environment, I found myself being very wary about going and and trying new things. Being in such a large group prompted me to be more adventurous and go out and explore the new culture. The importance of trying new things and going out to understand the culture was reiterated multiple times during the trip.Several people mentioned how their greatest foreign experiences came from truly immersing themselves in a culture, and boldly trying these new things. After trying these new experiences myself, I would agree to the importance of immersing yourself in a culture, and appreciate the people who helped pull people into trying these new experiences.

      The group that we were traveling with was very positive, and not just for research. Everyone was promoting good creative discussions, supporting each other in decision, engaging in new exciting experiences, and always asking good questions. From this group I learned a multitude of personal growth idea, such as how to improve work life balance.

      From David Delaine’s talk I learned to challenge tradition and to push for changes you want to see without going to far. Another point that resonated with me was to not wait for later. He was specifically talking about traveling, but also mentioned that it should be a general rule for life. Not everything is guaranteed, and it is worth putting your effort into getting things that you want in life when you can.

      c. Project 10 years into the future. Explain how the experience in Costa Rica this week could have an influence on your future (STEM) self.

      Participating in this program has expanded my international understanding and has shown me first hand a different culture. I have not been outside of the US before, and being able to travel and gain this new knowledge has positively influenced me to try and attend more international events. This event has also provided different networks that I can associate and friends that I will most likely see in future conferences.

      d. What did you learn from others outside of our delegation, e.g., other conference attendees?

      A large portion of things that I learned, outside of the research talks, was about new cultures. I was able to talk with people from Honduras, Panama, Brazil, and Costa Rica about their experiences. I was able to hear stories of their research/culture and see how it differs from my life. Being able to talk with them showed me how similar we are, and what differences we have in our societies.

      e. How will the experience in Costa Rica this week affect your immediate future? Provide at least three detailed examples about things that may affect your actions within the next two weeks, as a result of this trip.

      One of my primary actions after coming back from Costa Rica would be communicating my experiences with others. Primarily by sharing pictures and talking to people, I will be telling people about how great my international travel was, and how it is an activity that everyone should take advantage of if given the chance.

      I will also being reflecting back on my experience to grow as a person. I will think of the different things I have seen, people I have connected to, and new ideas that I have heard, and implement these new ideas into my life. For example, there was a lot of talks about global sustainability, and now I am able to reflect on these talks and decide how I want do my part to help with global sustainability.

      There were also a lot of talks about engineering education, which will help me as I go into grad school. I will both be able to use the knowledge I have learned to help me do better in my classes, and also use the knowledge to help other people. I will be a TA during my first year of graduate school, and I would be able to implement things I have learned from this conference into trying to better teach material to students.


    7. a. How did the ecological excursion at La Paz influence your views on global sustainability?

      The ecological excursion at La Paz further solidified my views. I feel that it takes everyone on the same goal of global sustainability in order for it to be successful. Seeing the country side of Costa Rica on the way and seeing how well they utilize the land. I remember being in one valley and the tour guide stated how much they treasure water, and how in the future there is going to be a need for water. Seeing how beautiful and resourceful the Costa Ricans are with regards to they treat their land was proof that a country that values their soil will lead to the soil giving back much more than I could ever imagine. In order for global sustainability to occur it takes a nation, it takes proper use of resources and great understanding of the land.

      b. What did you learn from interactions with the group (Maryland delegation + guest mentor Dr. Delaine)? Give at least three detailed examples.

      In undergrad there were times when I struggled with saying no to time commitments, and as I go further in my graduate studies time will be even more important. During the Coffee break at FLEEI Tate gave me advice on how to manage time during graduate school. Designate time only during the day to check emails, rather than checking your email constantly throughout the day which took up a lot of time. Also Tate ran me through situations where I might have to say no and how to respectfully say it. Running through those scenarios were especially helpful because those were moments that are going to occur while I am in graduate school. Learning from Tate how important managing time is in graduate school has made me more mindful about every decision made and more proactive in having a organized and discipline schedule.

      Dr. Delaine’s presentation on Monday of the trip was pretty inspiring. I learned a great deal about Costa Rican culture was cool. The most important thing I learned that graduate school is a major opportunity for growth as a person. Also I learned from Dr. Delaine’s presentation the importance of culture in your work, learning from other cultures to grow as a person, and staying true to yourself during your studies. As long as a person continually attempting to put themselves out there and lead, they are not failing is a very great quote that stuck with me. At times I get down on myself when expectations were not met when I was a leader, but it is all about learning from those mistakes. That is something I will continue to be mindful of as I continue to graduate school. Furthermore I learned so much about the food of Costa Rican, I really wish I could remember all of the fruit that was named during my time there but I’m glad I was exposed to so many different fruits and species that I was not aware of.

      From Dr. Tull and Hector Medina’s roundtable discussion on the importance of having a global view I learned how important it is to connect with people from different backgrounds in order to solve global problem s. It is important to travel, meet different people, put yourself out there and learn new things about culture. It was really inspiring see how much Dr. Tull learned Spanish in such a short amount of time. Even seeing how Elise began having longer conversations in Spanish was inspiring and helped me learn that I have to put myself out there more in different cultures and situations in order to grow.
      From everyone I learned that everyone’s path will be different, but the common theme I found from everyone in the delegation is that they generally enjoy what they do and put their all into it. I remember it being Monday or Tuesday night and Maxim and I had a discussion about his research on material testing at the nano-scale level. He told me which classes that would be helpful in graduate school such as advanced elasticity and mechanics courses. Seeing how passionate and knowledgeable illustrated how I want to be during graduate school.

      c. Project 10 years into the future. Explain how the experience in Costa Rica this week could have an influence on your future (STEM) self.

      This experience has motivated me to become more of a culturally diverse STEM. In the future I hope to earn a Ph.D., and either leading a research lab at a national laboratory, working on a biomedical engineering startup, or working as a professor. 10 years into the future I hope to have the ability to present in at least one different language. One goal in the next 10 years is to have the ability to present in Spanish at LACEEI. My future STEM self will also hopefully be a mentor and participate in many other. The most important thing I want to do in 10 years is to have ability to bring undergraduates to conferences such as LACEEI and FLEEI to expose them to different cultures. I feel that global diversity is somewhat lacking in STEM education, so If I am able to bring young students in STEM outside of the country it will have such as positive effect on their outlook of STEM and life. My experience in Costa Rica has influenced me to become a mentor and a better leader to help influence kids who are not aware ot these opportunities.

      d. What did you learn from others outside of our delegation, e.g., other conference attendees?

      Meeting people outside of the delegation was very interesting. I remember talking with a student from the Universidad. In particular learning from Josue, Anthony, and Arturo about their research was really inspiring. It was really cool seeing all of their research, I learned that their focus was on engineering sustainability. I learned that they are using their engineering expertise to influence global sustainability. Arturo’s research was geared towards creating more effective storage spaces in industrial food storage so companies have the ability to give more food to markets. I learned that engineering can be used in so many different aspects of life and not just technological advancements. Even I learned

      Also from Dr. Quadrado’s “Outside the box” presentation, I learned that every problem requires thinking from a different perspective. While my experiences are important, it is important to be mindful that my experiences cannot dictate how to solve problems from a different background. The issues in my community are different from the issues in Costa Rica, so it is important to be mindful of who you are solving the problem for.

      e. How will the experience in Costa Rica this week affect your immediate future? Provide at least three detailed examples about things that may affect your actions within the next two weeks, as a result of this trip.

      As a result of this trip I now understand the importance of learning different languages and culture. Over the next couple weeks I plan to continue to learn Spanish by listening to Spanish podcasts and television for at least 1 or 2 hours out of the day.

      The next way this experience will affect my immediate future is that it has propelled me to find opportunities for leadership at Virginia Tech. Whether it is through NSBE or the Graduate biomedical engineering society, or through volunteer organizations, I want to become more of a leader and have more of an effect on my community. I would also like to get involved in either SPEED, WEEF, or LACEEI. To foster more dialogue and collaboration between students from different global backgrounds.

      Furthermore this trip has affected my immediate future is that I will look on how to infuse global problems into my thesis work. I am motivated to make sure that I am able to have a partnership with another University to see how my future thesis work can have a positive global impact.


    8. a. How did the ecological excursion at La Paz influence your views on global sustainability? During the drive to La Paz our docent spent a lot of time talking about the history and ecosystem of Costa Rica. I was excited to learn of the immense bio-diversity of the region, and about how they value the land and engineer their crops to maintain balance with the environmental factors of the region. I was not exactly sure how Costa Rica plays a part on the global sphere but it appears that they have tremendous respect for their environmental impact (both socially and scientifically) and they truely represent the mantra of Pura Vida in all levels of their society.

      b. What did you learn from interactions with the group (Maryland delegation + guest mentor Dr. Delaine)? Give at least three detailed examples. I learned so much from interactions in our diverse group. Gloria was able to share some information on relevant research terms and themes in Human Computer Interactions that I can use in future research papers. Dr. David Delaine inspired me to be more authentic in my cultural expressions as a part of my scientific and professional work. Hector Medina was instrumental in inspiring me learn to walk more boldly through my professional life. Our conversations were very informative and encouraging. To witness a person from another country who is so very comfortable navigating both professional and personal spaces authoritatively and gracefully was very powerful.

      c. Project 10 years into the future. Explain how the experience in Costa Rica this week could have an influence on your future (STEM) self.
      As a future faculty member, I am motivated to create global experiences for my students in the same way Dr. Tull has done for us. I was fortunate to overhear other faculty participants who were also very grateful for the opportunity to participate in such experiences made me realize the value of no just ‘reaching back’ but reaching across when opportunities are available. It is one thing to go and be the example, but it is so much more to make inroads for others when you find a good thing. This realization came on the last night of the last day, and for me, it seemed to really leave me with a very powerful message about who I want to be as a scientist in the future.

      d. What did you learn from others outside of our delegation, e.g., other conference attendees?
      I learned that there are women in STEM across the Americas who are bravely working to make strides for others in this world. I learned that although I am from another country, and race, I can relate to others from Latin America quite well. Finally, I learned that Costa Rican students were willing to travel 3 hours each way daily to attend conferences like this in their country and that I should not take my opportunities for granted.

      e. How will the experience in Costa Rica this week affect your immediate future? Provide at least three detailed examples about things that may affect your actions within the next two weeks, as a result of this trip.
      Over the next few weeks I will write out some of the research ideas I have regarding mobile technology and cross-cultural experiences for future conference participants. I will also reach out to fellow delegates to foster future collaborations (papers, speaking opportunties, and panels). Finally, I will share more of my observations on twitter and inbox from the panel and presentation by Dr. Delaine.


    9. a) Before this trip I never really thought much about the serious need for global sustainability and this was largely due to my lack of exposure to the great natural wonders of the world. I saw a waterfall and stepped into a rainforest all for the first time during this excursion; however, many people do not get the opportunity to go on trips to a place such as Costa Rica. After visiting La Paz I realize that there are so many amazing things in the world that many people will never be able to see in-person and this can create a great disconnect from those people and nature. It is vital to not only preserve these beautiful natural treasures, but also find a way to allow more people to experience them as well.

      b) Being that I am a rising Junior undergraduate student and the youngest person in the group, I can honestly say I learned a great deal on this trip. First I learned the importance of graduate school and the opportunities that it can provide for you. Beyond obtaining a Masters and Ph.D. which can provide you with higher salaries and positions, more responsibility, and a high level of respect by your peers, graduate school can also provide you with the opportunity to travel and connect/network with people around the world. LACCEI is just one in the many conferences, around the world, that are held annually for grad students to present their research. Individuals in the group, like Sarah, who have been to conferences before and gotten the opportunity to travel help me to understand the great opportunities that graduate school can provide. This leads me to the second thing I learned from my interaction with Dr. Delaine which is that graduate school is a time for self-discovery. I talked to several people in the group who told me that they did not know what they wanted to do when they started graduate school. This was an extreme surprise to me because I always thought that you needed to know that before you even thought about grad school. However they started not necessarily sure what they wanted to do and took the time to learn, grow and develop themselves personally and professionally in order to find their interests and later goals. The final thing I learned, which also came from Dr. Delaine, was that in order to find a career you love, you must ask yourself what your priorities are and what you need to do to find a career that incorporates all of those priorities. During the trip, I observed many people, such as Dr. Tull and Dr. Delaine, who love and are passionate about the work they do I realized that in order to get that type of fulfillment in my work I must find figure out my priorities first. This in turn will allow me to find a career best suited for me one that I can be passionate about.

      c) Before this trip I was not set on graduate school for several reasons most of which had to do with finances and benefits but now I am set on attending grad school. So 10 years from now I will be 30 years old with my Masters and Ph.D. One of the goals that I have always had is to own my own business. Though I am not exactly sure what it will be at this time, by the time I’m 30 I will be taking steps into starting my own business, if it is not already started. One thing that I already knew before the conference was that I wanted to travel, but after this trip I am certain that traveling is something that I want to do throughout my life and career. So in a broad description I will have a head leadership position which will allow me to travel.

      d) I spoke with several people during the conference from different countries, such as Panama, Costa Rica, and Dominican Republic. What I learned were the great similarities that we share in values and aspirations. Another thing I learned was the great connection that people from Latin America have with each other. I observed a connection whenever someone would speak in Spanish to a person working in the hotel or to another Spanish-speaking person. It was an interesting phenomenon to observe that really inspired me to improve upon my own Spanish abilities. I now have the goal to become fluent in Spanish by next summer.

      e) In the immediate future, I plan to do several things. First I plan to document and recap all the lessons and things I learned during the trip. Second I plan on working on my Spanish by listening to music, podcast and television, as well as conversing with my Spanish-speaking friends. Third I plan on conducting research on graduate school and the programs that different schools have in fields, such as biomedical and chemical engineering; as well as PA school. I also plan on doing research in funding and grants for graduate school, such as the Bridge to Doctorate.


    10. a. How did the ecological excursion at La Paz influence your views on global sustainability?

      The excursion allowed me to see more of earth’s beauty, understand how delicate it is, and think of ways to help people understand that we need to protect these beautiful forests, mountains, and the ecosystem as a whole. I didn’t get a chance to see the waterfalls, but being able to see the animals and their interactions with each other and with me gives me the courage to step up and tell people that our grandchildren need to live here. Industrialization is a great thing for the society, but do we really need more of it? The toucan on my arm was beautiful. The butterflies were beautiful. We need to find a way to preserve the beauty while progressing as a race.

      b. What did you learn from interactions with the group (Maryland delegation + guest mentor Dr. Delaine)? Give at least three detailed examples.

      I learned that even though we were all from Maryland, we all have different backgrounds and views to offer. I never really knew Hector outside of him being my TA for 332L. Being a part of the delegation, I learned the reasons why he was a hard, but understanding TA. I learned about his past educational experience and how he ended up at UMBC. It was eye opening to me because I could never tell what got him to this point,.

      Another thing I learned is that there is such thing a balance. I’ve learned about a lot of the others of the delegation balance more than just grad school. People have families, jobs, or do extensive volunteer work for the greater good of the world. It doesn’t matter what other loads somebody has in the delegation because we all have one common goal for the future: to make the world better. Whether it’s for themselves or others.

      During Dr. Delaine’s session with us, we broke down “What is your culture?”. This was a great discussion that made me think a lot about it and realize how much I never did. Just because you see it as your culture doesn’t mean that others see it that way. The term “culture” is very subjective, especially in a room with many intelligent people who have different perspectives. After this discussion, I decided to sit back and think about what I believe defines me and makes my culture a reality. Your culture can be your upbringing and your upbringing can be your culture. This interaction put into perspective that understanding culture is something not practiced and we need to experience, not just learn, multiple cultures if we want to make a change

      c. Project 10 years into the future. Explain how the experience in Costa Rica this week could have an influence on your future (STEM) self.

      This experience has greatly impacted me now. In the next 10 years, I can now see myself as a speaker at a conference, such as LACCEI. I see myself building a platform for education in urban areas or impoverished areas where students do not have the opportunities in the school. The exposure to organizations such as IFEES and SPEED have shown me that there is more out there than just what I see in the states. I will hopefully become a consistent member of these organizations where I will be able to present my research on student engagement, learning, and teaching styles. Hopefully I will be able to bring students a long with me to these conferences to participate and be exposed to these opportunities just like how I was able to experience LACCEI and Costa Rica. International engagement is crucial for the fostering of creativity and understanding and through my research in education, I see myself giving my students the opportunity.

      d. What did you learn from others outside of our delegation, e.g., other conference attendees?

      I learned that we, as citizens of the US, are fortunate to have the opportunities that we have. I met many people who have never traveled to the states. We view international travel as a privilege that everybody has, but it is not. I met a young man who has not traveled outside of Colombia and Costa Rica was his first international trip. He didn’t seem bothered by it. He explained that in his country’s culture, people often go straight to school then straight to work and do not really find time to leave their country. Another person I met told us at the lunch table something very interesting: that she’s rather speak English than Spanish even though Spanish is her primary language. This opened my eyes, I assumed that everyone would prefer to speak their primary language because it’s of then the language you try to speak in when one translate. Another thing I learned is that research is universal. The poster presenter next to me during the poster session used similar characterization methods as me and she is from the Dominican Republic. I realized that I need to search all over the world and stop being narrow-minded.

      e. How will the experience in Costa Rica this week affect your immediate future? Provide at least three detailed examples about things that may affect your actions within the next two weeks, as a result of this trip.

      This experience is still making an immediate impact on me because I am itching to take my next trip. I am constantly asking myself where would I go? What would I do? Who do I want to impact? There is so much out here that we don’t get to experience in life and I am yearning to immerse myself into different environments and learn more about people and their cultures. I enjoyed my experience in Costa Rica so much that I am ready to take another and find ways to include myself in the culture.

      As a student journeying to grad school in the next few weeks, I plan on doing more research on people that I have talked to about engineering education and what they have accomplished. Collaborations or just simple connections between me and these people can open doors to more things than I could ever imagine. I want to understand more about international education and how to apply it to the communities that surround me.

      Being in a Latin American country, I feel like should’ve known Spanish. This is not because the locals didn’t really speak English. This is because I felt disrespectful when I didn’t understand. I believe that if you come into an environment that is far from yours and expect the locals to cater to you by speaking your language, then you shouldn’t be in that environment. It would be nice, but nobody should expect it because it is not your native land. I appreciate them for trying to explain in English at times, but in the end knowing a little Spanish wouldn’t hurt. I will start seeking out classes and classmates who are fluent in Spanish so that I will be able to speak the language at least a little. Spanish is very widely-spoken language and I would love to be a part of that group who can understand it.

      Thank you for everything. This experience was everything! I appreciate it!


    11. a. The Ecological excursion at La Paz was very meditational. I often go mountain biking in the woods or garden my vegetables to clear my mine. I feel that the ecological excursion brought out this relaxing nature especially when coupled with learning about the diversity of the region. Not just the ecological excursion at La Paz but the 1.5 hour travel to La Paz influenced my views on global sustainability. The travel there, we experienced how many people live based on the recourses they have. Also, how they used the natural mineral rich soil to grow many plants. After seeing this, I feel that global sustainability is more important than ever, specifically due the amount of damage that we as humans are causing without thinking about the future.

      b. At one of the dinners with the group, I was talking about the amount of research I had to finish during my stay in Costa Rica. That is when the Dr. Nias said that sometimes you must log off and enjoy your free time; you should have a life-work balance. After thinking about it while working on my research, I realized she was right. As soon as I put my research way, I felt instantaneous stress relieve. Thereafter, when I was free, I started to reflect on my research (reflect not work on) from a different stand point as Dr. Delaine has presented (see blog post for question 3). The trip to Costa Rica became significantly better while allowing me to find a path to progress my research forward implicitly. In addition, I have learned we can learn great deal from one another when we put ourselves in a culturally diverse group with diverse backgrounds. I have learned a great deal about myself while discussing different opinions regarding a variety of topics. This allowed me to broaden my thoughts and ideas regarding many topics including ones that I have never really thought about.

      c. I feel that the experience in Costa Rica this week has changed me dramatically. I always thought it is important to have diversity in STEM. However after this experience, I realized it is not just important but a necessity. This experience has changed my views for the future; I have become more interested in becoming an advocate in the STEM recruitment for diverse students as a faculty member.

      d. Meeting individuals outside of the delegation was one of the positives during this trip. I have learned a great amount from others outside of our delegation. Everyone seems to want to improve the world. Professors want to grow there labs by reciting individuals with different backgrounds while increasing global collaboration. In addition, many professors are interested in increasing undergraduate research to nurture well rounded engineers for workforce or for graduate school. While student are very prompt in helping the world through alternative energy research. Many students research included increase classroom education through modern technology. I feel that speaking to many attendees from student to teachers and from a diverse group of individuals, I have become exposed to many new ideas and thought process that will shape my future for the better, not only in STEM but in also STEM education.

      e. The experience in Costa Rica has changed my future from day one. I realized that I have to improve my work-life balance. I am currently experimenting with different techniques to improving time management by improving efficiency allowing for more free time.

      What I noticed during the travel to Costa Rica is that everyone seems to greet you when you walk by them. This is significantly different then what I experience here in the US. Therefore, my immediate goal is to greet everyone I walk by.

      Life is short and living it with a lot of stress and anxiety is unhealthy. As the Costa Ricans say it, I want to start living a “Pura Vida”; pure life and optimistic life.

      Liked by 1 person

    12. a.
      I had always wondered about how we as engineers create technology for the consumer and the after effects. What are they, sure we minimize them as much as we can but not everything we create is sustainable. This excursion caused me to have a bigger look on global sustainability and how I can pursue a career in engineering minimizing my destruction of the environment.

      From my interactions witd Dr Delanie I was able to come to terms with the idea that not everything goes to according to plan. From getting his PhD in Engineering Education while still being able to travel the world and enjoy life

      Elise was a role model in teaching me to learn other cultures. While we were eating lunch I saw as she was conversation with this elderly woman only in Spanish using what little she knew and google translate, but afterwards I saw how much information she gained and the culture exchange between the two was amazing. This caused me to think more about it learning another culture/langauge to get experiences as she had or maybe something greater.

      I was roommates with Roy thus we talked a lot about the conference. Roy was a participant in the poster competition and after his presentation experience he talked about how he wanted to improve and do better. Seeing his passion for his research and to do better in presenting it, it sparked my interest in research and made me wonder what do I want to find out more, what do I want to attempt/to solve, and how can I present that best to my fellow engineers.

      This week in Costa Rica was an extreme culture shock as it made me think about how others view engineering and what research is going and how its being used. I know I would like to be a part of this process in my future STEM Career thus I took serious though into what I can do and how I can contribute to not only those who are within my reach but eventually the whole world. I still would like to work as a programmer and do cyber security, but now I wonder in doing this what I can I do to benefit everyone and also still keep their culture intact.

      I learned that to contribute to society as an engineer, you do not have to give it your own time. Such as a programmer who was making a game to teach programming to the youth and made such a great program in his free time.

      I will pass my knowledge down to those around on how staying in another culture has opened my eyes and made me question more on what I can and what I want do.I will work to cross the cultural barriers by learning new languages and trying out new things. I also plan to expedite my projects and start a new one that innovates the programs given/shown about teaching the youth about programming.

      Liked by 1 person

    13. a) I had an early flight and was unable to attend the excursion
      b) I learned through group interactions with the Maryland delegation that it is possible to have lateral mentorship. I had numerous opportunities to talk to engineering majors who had different experiences during internships, classes, and interactions in academia. I found it extremely helpful to be in an environment where I could have in depth discussions with people with similar backgrounds.

      In addition, Dr. Delaine and I had discussions on engineering education. I learned more about the program itself, what type of research is needed, and how to get more involved.

      c/d) I believe the connections I made at the conference would still be active 10 years from now. I met professors from universities in Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica. I was able to get their emails and I plan on being in touch. I was able to learn how they were promoting diversity on their campuses. For example. I met one professor from Canada who was working on engineering education projects in Niger, to promote international collaboration.

      e) In the immediate future, I am currently doing research on engineering education, and thinking about if that is the correct career path for me. So far, I have been looking at research publications from people within the field. I have also been sending emails to my contacts as well as friending academics on facebook to keep in touch with them


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