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Oenardi Lawanto Receives NSF CAREER Award



USU College of Engineering assistant professor Oenardi Lawanto is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award.

Oenardi Lawanto, an assistant professor in the Engineering and Technology Education Department at Utah State University, was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER award for his project “CAREER: Cognitive and Metacognitive Activities in Engineering Design Education.”

Lawanto joins a growing list of USU professors receiving NFS awards. The award is for $461,031 and is effective Sept. 1, 2012, and expires Aug. 31, 2017.

According to its website, NSF CAREER proposals should “build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.”

It is the combination of research and education that makes Lawanto’s grant proposal unique. The broad scope of the project aims to improve students’ design skills through self-regulated thinking.

“This is done through meta-cognation, a process that literally means ‘thinking about thinking,’” Lawanto said. “The funding will pay for graduate and undergraduate students to assist with my research.  I’d like to promote research to the undergraduate students. My main purpose is funding senior capstone design projects.”

In the proposal abstract, Lawanto said the study will use the framework of self-regulated learning and engage undergraduate students from multiple engineering disciplines.  A broader significance of the project is to inform engineering and other STEM disciplines how to develop student expertise in regulating their own learning in design and other technical activities.

Lawanto’s award comes after fine-tuning a proposal he submitted in 2010. He was encouraged to re-submit his proposal, which he did after collaborating with multiple USU faculty and staff, as well as professors at other universities.

“This time when I submitted the proposal, I felt good because last year I received five full pages of comments,” Lawanto said. “I could not have received this prestigious award without many people’s help.”

After incorporating the comments from the previous submission, the turnaround was rapid. Lawanto submitted his proposal in late July 2011 and received its approval during the week of Aug. 7. Committee members reviewing the proposal sent him three questions for clarification before the award was granted.

Lawanto joined the faculty at USU in 2008. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and earned his doctorate in human resource education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests include areas in cognition, learning, instruction and e-learning.

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Contact: Dr. Oenardi Lawanto, (435) 797-8669, olawanto@usu.edu