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A Guatemalan Immersion for Teaching Engineering Design Principles to High School Students

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Extending a Hand Back: Older Students Inspiring Younger Students

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.45.1 - 22.45.12



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Paper Authors


Kristine R. Csavina Florida Gulf Coast University

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Dr. Kristine Csavina is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering in the U. A. Whitaker School of Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Csavina received a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Dayton and the Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Arizona State University. Her research interests range from motion analysis of human movement in movement disorders, orthopedics and sports to engineering education research in student learning, pedagogical approach, and K-12 outreach initiatives.

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Lisa Zidek Florida Gulf Coast University

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Lisa A. Zidek is an Associate Professor in Bioengineering and the Academic Program Director at Florida Gulf Coast University. Her research interests are in engineering education, with particular emphasis on engineering entrepreneurship and service learning.

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A Guatemalan Immersion for Teaching Engineering Design Principles to High School StudentsAbstractIn the summer of 2010, a unique high school program was launched to teach health care topicsespecially pertaining to developing countries, with the chosen site of Calhuitz, Guatemala, aremote community in the county of Huehuetenango. A team of Bioengineering and Nursing facultydelivered this unique educational and cultural summer experience with the objective to broaden students’knowledge and exposure to health care careers in engineering and nursing, while providing assistivedevices and health care outreach to the local community. Students convened for two and a half dayson the campus of XXX University, where they were introduced to the health care topics andprepared for the challenges they would encounter in Guatemala. Students spent three and a halfweeks in country where they learned about nursing practices, community assessment medicalinstrumentation and engineering design principles, with much of the learning facilitated throughsmall group, community-based activities. Students concluded the trip back at XXXU, formallypresenting their work to local community members; students were also interviewed by thesecommunity members one-on-one to determine successes and areas for improvement in theprogram. While the paper will summarize all components of the high school program, the focusof the paper is on the design topics, including activities used to teach and learn engineeringdesign, the in-country design project completed by the high school students, and the designprojects launched at the undergraduate level as a result of the summer program.Design components were introduced in two ways with the high school students. In small groupsstudents learned about interviewing clients, identifying problems, writing subsequent needstatements from these problems, and brainstorming solutions. These components of the designprocess were taught by interviewing community members, often with severe medical conditions,and through discussions immediately following the interview. As a large group the facultymembers more formally introduced and discussed these design components and continued thedesign process by selecting one case study and identifying needs; students created specifications,brainstormed alternative designs, and designed and built a final product that was delivered to theclient at the end of the program. The students achieved this under the constraints of using locallyavailable material and on a $50 budget.The paper will detail these activities used for both the small group, case-study interviews and thelarge group design build. Assessment of actual and perceived gains in engineering design topicswere performed through likert surveys of students and student comments. The paper willconclude with reflections on improvements for the next summer program.

Csavina, K. R., & Zidek, L. (2011, June), A Guatemalan Immersion for Teaching Engineering Design Principles to High School Students Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17327

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