Supported by the NSF Division of Engineering Education and Centers, this REU Site addresses a national need for research and workforce training in critical infrastructure resilience by providing undergraduate students with ADHD with interdisciplinary research experience in the cyber and physical security aspects of critical infrastructure resilience. The program will cultivate individuals with highly-desirable skills sets, including creative problem solving and risk taking abilities, for careers in the security of critical infrastructures while targeting the needs of ADHD students who are severely underrepresented and underserved in engineering programs and at risk of academic failure. The REU Site will directly benefit the ADHD students in the program by providing a positive research and education experience that recognizes their unique intellectual strengths and encourages them to continue in engineering careers. Understanding the difficulties and problems these students face in traditional engineering research and education settings enables specialized learning environments to be designed that increase their participation and foster their creative potential. These specialized learning environments may increase the level of education of a traditionally under-accomplished group in the society. Efforts will be made to inform engineering researchers and educators about the project to promote awareness within the engineering community of the diverse learning needs and learning styles of divergent thinkers. The information disseminated through this project may help lead to a paradigm shift in how individuals with ADHD are perceived by our society and education system and may lead to significant improvements to the wellbeing of these individuals and their families.
Supported by the NSF Division of Engineering Education and Centers, this REU Site program adopts a radically novel approach to education and training of engineering students for careers in critical infrastructure security. The growing interconnection, interdependence, complexity, and integration among cyber and civil infrastructure systems; the ever-increasing sophistication of cyber threats, and the severity of recent manmade and natural hazards, demand novel, interdisciplinary research approaches to the security of critical infrastructure. This project capitalizes on the potential of individuals with significant divergent thinking and risk taking characteristics to suggest radical solutions for the security of critical infrastructure. By offering interdisciplinary research training opportunities to engineering students with high creative potential who have ADHD, this REU departs from traditional approaches that focus on talent development, and the outcomes of this project may lead to improvements in how engineering education is performed. The knowledge generated through this project regarding the experience of ADHD students and the impediments they face in traditional engineering education and research settings, may significantly encourage future research in learning environments, workforce development, and may ultimately broaden participation of non-traditional, underrepresented groups in engineering disciplines. This REU Site program has the potential to underscore findings concerning the ability of ADHD students to perform well in situations that demand creative problem solving approaches. If retained, trained, and mentored properly, this underserved population of students presents significant potential to benefit the society in areas in which innovation and creativity are most needed.