Founded in 1927, Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology was America’s first federally certified school of aviation. Today, Parks has a worldwide reputation for its aviation and engineering degree programs. As a part of Saint Louis University’s values rooted in the Catholic Jesuit tradition, its mission is to inspire entrepreneurship, innovation and uncompromising pursuit of socially responsible solutions to 21st Century challenges.
Partnerships with other KEEN universities provide new opportunities for students and entrepreneurially minded faculty at SLU. It allows institutions to share best practices to advance entrepreneurially minded learning. SLU’s partnership with other KEEN institutions has not only lead to significant curricular innovations and extra-curricular opportunities but also resulted in new partnership between the faculty and students of our school with other schools.
By instilling an entrepreneurial mindset in our students, we are preparing them for successful engineering careers, but we are also preparing them to see opportunities to add value in their workplaces, in their communities, and in the world. Entrepreneurially minded engineers recognize where they can add value and are empowered to do so, regardless of context.
--Michelle Sabick, Dean of Engineering, Saint Louis University
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A course-based undergraduate research experience designed to integrate curiosity, connections, and value while actively engaging in the process of science.
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Often times, students struggle with grasping the concept of electrochemical cells and their applications. This active learning module aims to familiarize both introductory chemistry students and those enrolled in upper level chemistry courses with real-world applications of electrochemistry through electrochemical sensors. The goal of this project is to spark curiosity, inspire awareness, and facilitate inquiries into markets that utilize electrochemical concepts in their operations.
Textbooks tend to focus on electrochemical cells in the context of batteries, namely because they are a convenient real-world example of their application. Advanced chemistry courses, like analytical chemistry, are much the same, with labs that focus on voltammetry and electrochemistry in static conditions. This project allows students to explore concepts within the context of chemical and biochemical sensors. In this module, students were required to (1) identify a problem that could be mitigated through the use of chemical/biochemical sensors, (2) design a sensor and explain its implementation while integrating an electrochemical (or analogous) reaction, (3) estimate the costs of producing their sensors, and (4) “pitch” their problem and corresponding sensor to the class. Since the nature of the module was conducive to independent learning, students were given free-reign on the specifics of their projects/chemical reactions, and were encouraged to be creative.
The “Design A Sensor” module asks students to research sensors, demonstrate a creative, interdisciplinary use for them, and identify the industries which would potentially benefit from their ideas. Students who participated in the assignment demonstrated a number of different uses for sensors—from making the perfect brew, to saving fish from harmful chemicals—thereby identifying the use of sensors outside the stereotypical chemistry lab. They researched sensors to present plausible methods in their implementation, and they completed a cost analysis to understand sensors from an economic standpoint. In doing so, the module fulfills the “3 C’s” criteria for curiosity, making connections, and demonstrating the value of their ideas, both in a monetary sense and the impact of their sensor’s target.
Students were assigned this project at the beginning of the electrochemistry lectures in General Chemistry II. Students were required to read the background materials on sensors (attached to this packet). The concepts presented in the ‘Sensors background’ document were also referenced throughout the electrochemistry lectures. This module was implemented in a large lecture with roughly one-hundred-and-sixty students. Electrochemistry lectures were covered throughout the 3-week duration of this project.