September 6, 2022

Dr. Catherine Berdanier, Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Penn State. Has been awarded an NSF CAREER grant to study the experiences of current engineering graduate students over time in an effort to understand graduate student attrition and persistence in engineering. We are collecting longitudinal data using text-message survey methods, following participants over time. 

This research is conducted via very short surveys through text messages on your cell phone. If you agree, and we select you for this study based on screening criteria, you will receive very short surveys on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Monday and Wednesday surveys will take approximately 30 seconds. Weekly, monthly, and end-of-term (December, May, and August) surveys on Fridays will take 1 to 3 minutes.  

If you are interested in participating in this study, please complete the online survey link below. The second page of the survey is the informed consent section, which includes more information regarding the study, including measures taken to protect confidentiality, and you will be able to download the full informed consent document.  

[Link to Participant Interest Survey] [] 

Consecutive participation will be rewarded with a $10 gift card each month of participation (missing fewer than 2 Monday/Wednesday surveys or 1 Friday survey each month). In addition, participants who complete each of the monthly surveys and semesterly surveys each term (December, May, August) will be entered in a drawing for one of three $50 gift cards at the end of each term.  

Although you have the option to be removed from our study at any time, ideally participants would remain in the study for a year, at which point we will reach out to see if you would be interested in continuing your participation. Longitudinal data is extremely valuable to our research, so participants continuing in a second year will be entered into an additional drawing for an additional $50 gift card.  

If you have any questions about the study or how the data will be used, feel free to contact me at our lab group email ( or my university email address ( and we will answer any questions you have. This study has been approved by the Penn State University IRB. 

Thank you for considering participation in this important study.  

Catherine Berdanier, PhD. 

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering 

Shuman Family Early Career Professor of Mechanical Engineering 

Pennsylvania State University 

Director of the Engineering Cognitive Research Laboratory (ECRL []