Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date




Conference Name

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Tampa, Florida, June 15-19, 2019


An interdisciplinary Research-based Education Program for Engaging Plant/Agriculture sciences, Chemical sciences and Engineering students (iREP-4-PACE) is envisioned with the underlying intent to improve Tuskegee University's (TU’s) STEM retention through the introduction of interdisciplinary, guided, inquiry experiments focused on the production of high-value chemicals from plants. At large, chemicals are synthesized from petroleum resources and it is well established that the continued extraction of these resources is detrimental to the environment. On the contrary, synthesizing chemicals from "plant factories" may be a boon to the environment and have a negative carbon footprint. The program uses three initiatives: a) expanded professional development activities for developing, teaching inquiry-based lectures and experiments, b) inclusion of sustainable high-value chemical production from plants across the laboratory curriculum, and c) increase of student hands-on access, competency with instrumentation and cutting-edge techniques. The overarching goal of the iREP-4-PACE program is to engage a cohort of undergraduates from plant/agriculture sciences, chemical sciences, and engineering disciplines in the research, education of engineering chemicals from plants of high commercial and medicinal value. The program will educate the undergraduates in engineering environment friendly chemicals. The year-long program will train students in seeking/learning the interdisciplinary knowledge, techniques of molecular synthesis of plant-based chemicals and in doing so, it will train the students in broadly applicable research methods such as literature review, instrument training, basic statistical analysis, and proposal writing. The article describes the design of the iREP-4-PACE program and activities conducted to gauge the interest of potential participants.


© American Society for Engineering Education, ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings, Tampa, Florida, June 15-19, 2019.

Original Publication Citation

Asundi, S., Bernard, G. C., & Collier, W. E. (2019). An interdisciplinary research-based education program for engaging plant/agriculture sciences, chemical sciences, and engineering students (iREP-4-PACE) at minority institutions. Paper presented at the 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Tampa, Florida, June 15-19, 2019.