Women at the helm of redefining engineering at FIU

Written by: Ashley Garcia

Professors Trina Fletcher and Alexandra Coso Strong are aiming to expand and improve the participation in engineering at FIU.

In conjunction with the STEM Transformation Institute, the School of Universal Computing, Construction, and Engineering Education(SUCCEED), was formed in 2018 as the first engineering and computing education department at a minority-serving institution.

Fletcher and Strong describe engineering education research as an exploration and analysis of what’s taking place within engineering spaces including higher education and industry.

SUCCEED plans to offer two new degree programs: a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary engineering and a doctorate in engineering and computing education.

“Engineering education has been around for years, but engineering education research has arguably only developed over the last two decades.”

Trina Fletcher

Since there are only a few Ph.D programs in engineering education located in major metropolitan centers, having SUCCEED in Miami can serve as a fitting way to introduce diversity to the community of students serving in the program, which can help broaden their experience.

Another advantage of SUCCEED’s program is the flexibility they offer. Students will be able to engage in hands-on projects that will enable them to practice what they learn in the classroom and gain firsthand experience in understanding the implications of design.

The future goals for SUCCEED are as clear as day for the pair. They want to see the creation of a strong research community of faculty and graduate students on campus, while collaborating with other units, such as the Center for Advancement of Teaching. Essentially, they want students to understand that engineering can be defined in different ways and can provide various opportunities and tracks in their field.

“We’re hoping to attract people and show them pathways they wouldn’t have seen before.”

Alexandra Coso Strong