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January 2021


  • International Undergraduate Enrollment Continues To Decline

Sponsored Content: NCEES

  • 2021 NCEES Engineering Education Award


  • In Malaysia, Pineapple Drones Take to the Air
  • Coming Soon to a City Near You: Autonomous Flying Taxis


  • Growing Number of Cyberattacks Target Schools


  • Who Wants To Be a Professor?


  • What’s On Tap in the February 2021 Issue of Prism?


  • ASEE Elections
  • Framework for P–12 Engineering Learning
  • ASEE Workforce Summit


By Charles Stuppard

Despite overall growth in undergraduate engineering enrollment over the past decade, international student enrollment in undergraduate engineering has shown a steady year-to-year decline since 2014, culminating in a net loss of international student enrollment in 2018 and 2019. The year-to-year change is calculated by dividing the year-to-year net change by the number of reporting institutions for a particular year, resulting in the average per institution. The national average for all engineering disciplines is shown in Figure 1.

This national trend is further reflected in a third of ASEE engineering disciplines, shown as discipline subsets in Figure 2 and Figure 3 below.

Two of the larger engineering fields, civil and mechanical engineering, have mirrored the national totals and shown a gradual decrease since 2012, while computer engineering appears to lag one year behind the national trend. Petroleum engineering has shown the largest year-to-year shift over that time.

Engineering management also mirrored the national average, whereas architectural and industrial/manufacturing/systems engineering have shown a gradual decline since 2012. Although there was a one-year increase in 2015 for these two disciplines, that was followed by a continuous average net loss of international enrollment. Similarly, chemical engineering has declined since 2012, showing an increase in 2017 trailed by consecutive years of negative year-to-year changes.

Source: ASEEs Profiles of Engineering and Engineering Technology, 2010–2019


Charles Stuppard is a data analyst at ASEE.

Sponsored Content

2021 NCEES Engineering Education Award

The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing professional licensure for engineers and surveyors.

The NCEES Engineering Education Award recognizes college engineering programs for engaging their students in collaborative projects with licensed professional engineers. It was established to promote understanding of the value of licensure and to encourage partnerships between the engineering profession and education.

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 competition, NCEES will be accepting those entries for the 2021 competition cycle. If a program completed a project in 2020, it can be entered for a chance to win one of the 2021 cash awards. Please consider entering projects that integrate professional practice and education.

At the discretion of the award jury, up to eight cash awards are presented each year. EAC/ABET-accredited programs from all engineering disciplines are invited to compete for the $25,000 grand prize and seven $10,000 prizes. The winning engineering departments/colleges decide how to best use the cash award. NCEES encourages the winners to use the funds for the advancement of projects connecting professional practice and education.

 “The Engineering Education Award is a great program,“ said NCEES Engineering Education Award juror Steven Barrett, Ph.D., P.E. “It’s an outstanding method that celebrates engineering student design and collaboration with professional engineers.”

Competition details
The NCEES Engineering Education Award categories are as follows:

• International projects
• Community enhancement projects
• Public welfare and health services/care projects
• Energy and sustainability projects
• Device/design/prototype projects
• Freshman/sophomore design projects
• Innovation projects

Grand prize: $25,000
Up to seven awards: $10,000 each

Projects must be in progress by March 15, 2021. The entry deadline is May 17, 2021. Learn about NCEES Engineering Education Award project ideas, evaluation criteria, and more at



Entrepreneurs and researchers in Italy have in recent years used the by-products of orange juice manufacturing—the rind, seeds, and other nonedible bits—for various sustainable uses, including generating electricity and producing goods ranging from baking flour to luxury textiles. Now Mohamed Thariq Hameed Sultan, a professor of aerospace engineering at Malaysia’s Putra University, has turned his attention to waste from another popular fruit: pineapples. He’s invented a way to turn the discarded leaves of pineapples into a bio-composite material that’s strong enough to be used to build frames for drones, according to the Reuters news agency. It’s the result of a three-year project to find sustainable uses for pineapple farming wastes. Not only is the material cheaper and lighter than those made from synthetic fibers, but it also has a higher strength-to-weight ratio and is biodegradable. If the drone breaks or otherwise reaches the end of its life, the frame can be buried and will degrade within two weeks. Prototype pineapple drones have reached a height of 3,280 feet and remained airborne for around 20 minutes. Hameed Sultan’s team next wants to build a larger version that can carry bigger payloads, such as imaging sensors for aerial inspection of the pineapple trees. Pineapples are harvested annually, and currently their leaves and stems have no value. Malaysian farmers hope that turning that waste into a useful product will give them an additional income stream.


More than three years ago, Prism magazine examined the future of electric aircraft and reported that the first iterations of battery-powered planes would be small urban taxis that fly autonomously and use vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) technology—like something out of the Jetsons. Further, people-carrying drones would likely begin appearing in the skies over cities within 10 years. That prediction is looking pretty solid. Since then several start-ups have announced plans to eventually launch VTOL city fliers. Martin Warner, a Brit who launched the start-up Autonomous Flight a couple of years ago, cited plans to sell a two-seat craft that can cruise at 70 mph. A few large car companies have also indicated varying degrees of interest in self-driving aircraft, including Toyota, Hyundai, and Aston Martin. Now two Detroit automakers say they’re planning to introduce VTOL taxis. At this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, General Motors’ Cadillac division surprised analysts with the news that it’s looking into building an urban flier that can speed along at 55 mph. But it released few details. On the other hand, Fiat Chrysler is much further along. The carmaker says it’s partnered with Archer, an electronic aviation company, to begin mass production of a passenger drone by 2023. Its planned aircraft would carry four passengers at speeds of up to 150 mph. Morgan Stanley, the investment bank, estimates the market for electric VTOLs will be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040.



The ongoing pandemic has left many schools still partly or fully reliant on remote teaching. And the bad guys have taken notice. The federal government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI, and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) recently issued a joint statement warning of increasing cyber threats targeting K–12 online learning, according to the website ExecutiveGov. Of all incidents reported to MS-ISAC, 57 percent hit K–12 schools last August and September. But the agencies emphasize that the trend isn’t likely to let up in 2021. Most of the incidents were denial-of-service attacks and video conferencing disruptions. The most prevalent ransomware variants used included AKO, Ryuk, Nefilim, and Maze. System vulnerabilities included social-engineering influence, open and exposed ports, student data breaches, and end-of-life software. The agencies recommended that schools take such precautions as software patches, multifactor authentication, network segmentation, and regular password changes.



One individual’s trajectory offers insights into broadening participation in academic careers.

By Brian A. Burt

Why do some engineering graduate students choose faculty careers while others do not? The underrepresentation of historically marginalized individuals in the engineering faculty will remain a problem until we learn more about why students choose the engineering professoriate.

Scholarship on the pursuit of engineering faculty careers remains limited. Developing an in-depth understanding of the reasons why individuals choose this path requires both large-scale surveys and zoomed-in accounts that detail students’ choices.

My research explored the journey of “Allen,” a Black chemical engineering graduate originally from Africa. His narrative features evolving understandings of the academy and the professoriate, the development of a faculty prototype (a model for success used to self-assess performance), and the ways he began to envision himself as a professor.

The work also provides a launch-point for understanding how to broaden participation in engineering pathways among underrepresented students of color.

The study brought Allen’s own meaning-making and voice to the forefront. I analyzed narrative data chronologically and thematically to help make sense of his journey.

As an undergraduate, Allen was not interested in a faculty career. His interactions with peers negatively shaped his understanding of what it meant to be a faculty member. This suggests that undergraduate experiences can shape how and when students begin to think about postgraduate careers. For Allen, graduate research experiences under his faculty prototype, Professor Jackson, appeared transformative; they ignited his passion to do research, gain recognition for discoveries, and mentor students. As he engaged in independent research, practiced and honed his presentation skills, and presented his work at conferences, he felt assured that he, too, could succeed.

Interacting with Professor Jackson, a professor of color who affirmed him, allowed Allen to envision himself in a faculty career. Faculty prototypes for other students, however, might hold identities different than their own. And in some cases, students may have multiple faculty prototypes that inform their professorial intentions.

A skewed faculty prototype could be problematic if the student’s prototype is (sub)consciously rooted in historically oppressive representations of who is and can be a professor. It is possible that a student may think of an older White man as the symbolic representation of a professor, potentially casting out the possibility of other representations. Because of the importance of the faculty prototype, faculty should be aware that they are being watched by students.

Though Allen was not interested in the professoriate during his undergraduate studies, with additional experiences he became interested. Thus, students’ interest in faculty careers can change over time.

My findings show that Allen’s thinking about the professoriate was shaped by his social identities and individual experiences, participation in research, identification of a faculty prototype, and social comparisons to that prototype and others. These results suggest that the development of students’ intentions involves more than how they are socialized in graduate school, their research experiences with their group and faculty supervisor, or their social identities and experiences prior to graduate school. Rather, students’ professorial intentions present a complex puzzle formed by the interaction of all of these factors.

Without a wider range of faculty models, students may maintain hegemonic perceptions of faculty prototypes (e.g., White and male), impeding diversity and broader participation in the professoriate. This study also suggests that faculty perceptions of who is a stellar student most likely to succeed in the professoriate—and thus, whom to mentor—may draw, consciously or not, from their experiences of emulating their own faculty prototypes. This, in turn, may lead to the unintended replication of patterns of student demographics and of advising and mentoring behaviors. That can result in a lack of recognition of the efforts and potential of marginalized students. Perhaps reading more accounts of journeys like Allen’s will help faculty perceive their students differently.


Brian A. Burt is an assistant professor in the department of educational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He also serves as a research scientist in the Wisconsin Equity & Inclusion Laboratory (Wei LAB). This article is based on “Broadening Participation in the Engineering Professoriate: Influences on Allen’s Journey in Developing Professorial Intentions” in the October 2020 issue of the Journal of Engineering Education.


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COVER: DOUBLE JEOPARDY—Hostile federal policies and a global pandemic have hammered international student enrollment and institutional budgets, creating both challenges and opportunities for engineering programs.


FEATURE: POWER DRIVE—As sales of electric and hybrid vehicles grow, the internal combustion engine remains king of the road. Engineers aim to make it cleaner and greener.


FEATURE: DIY BY DESIGN—Once a novelty, maker spaces have become a must-have feature for engaging and retaining engineering students.



Below is the slate of candidates for this year's elections:

President-Elect (Term 2021–2024)
Jenna Carpenter, Campbell University
Doug Tougaw, Valparaiso University

Vice President, External Affairs (Term 2021–2023)
P. K. Imbrie, University of Cincinnati
Agnieszka Miguel, Seattle University

Vice President, Finance (Term 2021–2023)
Peter Schmidt, University of Evansville
Teri Reed, University of Cincinnati

Chair of the Council of Sections, Zone II (Term 2022–2024)
Charles McIntyre, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Chair of the Council of Sections, Zone IV (Term 2022–2024)
Eric Davishahl, Whatcom Community College

Ballots were sent by email on January 15 and must be returned by February 15. If you anticipate having technical or physical difficulty in executing your e-ballot, please contact Sylvie Nguyen-Fawley at or (202) 331-3516 and a special printed ballot will be prepared for you. If you do not receive your election email by February 16, 2021, please contact



The Journal of Engineering Education is seeking applicants to our Mentored Reviewer Program, which coaches novice reviewers through the review process with an experienced mentor. Mentees should display evidence of developing expertise (through formal courses or real-world experience) in research areas that align with the journal’s mission and should have developing expertise in either quantitative or qualitative research methods. 

Mentees will participate in online training with their mentors and JEE editors. During the mentorship period (approximately six months), mentors and mentees will work together on approximately three article reviews. A scaffolded approach to the review process will be provided, allowing the mentee to gain more independence by the final review.  

For more information on the program and to apply, please contact Lisa Benson at or visit our website.



Dean Ken Ball from George Mason University recently led a session with speakers Jorge Puente from Kelly Engineering, Mark Schuver from Purdue University, Jeff Wilcox from Lockheed Martin, and Tom Kelly from Automation Alley. You can now view the session, Accelerating Engineering Education Reform To Meet the Demands of the Talent Pipeline.  

This industry-wide web series guides schools in preparing engineering and technology students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The goal is to reach a consensus on improvements to curricula, work-based experiences, policies, and practices.

Please feel free to share this with your colleagues! Ask them to register now to receive updates and publications!

Our next session is Friday, Jan. 29, noon–1:30 p.m. ET.


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