Research Papers

Simulations, Imaging, and Modeling: A Unique Theme for an Undergraduate Research Program in Biomechanics

[+] Author and Article Information
Stephanie M. George

Department of Engineering,
East Carolina University,
225 Slay Building, Mail Stop 117,
Greenville, NC 27858
e-mail: georges@ecu.edu

Zachary J. Domire

Department of Kinesiology,
East Carolina University,
332A Ward Sports Medicine Building,
Greenville, NC 27858
e-mail: domirez@ecu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received December 6, 2016; final manuscript received March 16, 2017; published online June 6, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Kristen Billiar.

J Biomech Eng 139(7), 071002 (Jun 06, 2017) (6 pages) Paper No: BIO-16-1500; doi: 10.1115/1.4036315 History: Received December 06, 2016; Revised March 16, 2017

As the reliance on computational models to inform experiments and evaluate medical devices grows, the demand for students with modeling experience will grow. In this paper, we report on the 3-yr experience of a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) based on the theme simulations, imaging, and modeling in biomechanics. While directly applicable to REU sites, our findings also apply to those creating other types of summer undergraduate research programs. The objective of the paper is to examine if a theme of simulations, imaging, and modeling will improve students' understanding of the important topic of modeling, provide an overall positive research experience, and provide an interdisciplinary experience. The structure of the program and the evaluation plan are described. We report on the results from 25 students over three summers from 2014 to 2016. Overall, students reported significant gains in the knowledge of modeling, research process, and graduate school based on self-reported mastery levels and open-ended qualitative responses. This theme provides students with a skill set that is adaptable to other applications illustrating the interdisciplinary nature of modeling in biomechanics. Another advantage is that students may also be able to continue working on their project following the summer experience through network connections. In conclusion, we have described the successful implementation of the theme simulation, imaging, and modeling for an REU site and the overall positive response of the student participants.

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