Villaneuva Wins ASEE Biomedical Education Paper Award

Former Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BioE) lecturer Idalis Villanueva received the Best Paper Award in the Biomedical Education Division at the American Society for Engineering Education's (ASEE) 120th annual conference, held in Atlanta, Ga. this summer. Her submission, "Development of a Design and Project-Based Framework to Include Scientific Reasoning in an Undergraduate, Introductory-Level Bioengineering Laboratory Course," described the modification and enhancement of BIOE 121: Biology for Engineers Laboratory, one of the department's core courses.

In 2012, Villanueva and her co-authors, BioE Graduate student Rachel Manthe and Bioprocess Scale-Up Facility staff member Kevin Knapstein, introduced project- and design-based learning modules to the class. In addition to building the students' core lab skills, the changes were also designed to promote confidence, self-sufficiency, critical thinking, ethics, and teamwork. Students learned the scientific method and applied it to a semester-long experiment through a series of structured workshops that guided them through the overall process, from exploration and discovery to the final presentation of their results.

While at the Clark School, Villanueva also co-designed and co-taught BIOE 289A: Designing A Sustainable World, with Research Associate Professor Leigh Abts. BIOE 289A now serves as a national model for the implementation of the Department of Energy's "Energy 101" initiative, an interdisciplinary curriculum offered nationally to colleges and universities. Energy 101 challenges students of any major to systematically explore the technological, economical, and societal issues behind sound energy policies and decisions. Like BIOE 121, it includes group projects and educational modules that introduce students to the research and design process and encourage critical thinking.

Villanueva is currently an assistant professor in Utah State University's Department of Engineering Education.

Published September 5, 2013