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A Model for Conducting K-12 STEM Summer Outreach Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Resource Exchange

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


William A. Kitch Angelo State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Kitch is Professor and Chair of the David L. Hirschfeld Department of Engineering at Angelo State University. Before starting his academic career he spent 24 years as a practicing engineer in both the public and private sector. He is a registered professional engineer in Colorado, California and Texas

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Andrea L. Robledo Angelo State University

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Dr. Andrea Robledo received her PhD in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University. Dr. Robledo currently serves as Director for STEM HSI Success Programs with the David L. Hirschfeld Department of Engineering at Angelo State University. In her role, she works to support student success in engineering and faculty development through a Hispanic Serving Institution grant from the US Department of Education. Prior to joining ASU, she worked with Lumina Foundation on their Latino/a Student Success program initiative that emphasized the importance of collective impact in increasing the number of Latinos with post-secondary degrees and certificates. Dr. Robledo holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in Applied Anthropology from University of North Texas.

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Wanda James Green

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This paper reports on a campus-community partnership between Angelo State University and Tom Green County Library. These organizations have partnered for several years to provide one-week summer STEM outreach programs to pre-college students in the San Angelo region of West Texas. These programs have been traditionally targeted at middle school students from underrepresented groups, focusing particularly on Latinx and female students. The programs, originally designed for traditional face-to-face delivery, were completely redesigned to incorporate infection control protocols brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Content for the programs was reduced from multiple topics to a single topic to reduce preparation demands. The delivery method was changed to a hybrid program with an at-home build segment, supported by online content, combined with a socially distanced on-site testing day. The change also moved the student focus from individuals to family units. In spite of the significant hurdles created by COVID-19 protocols, the programs were redesigned and successfully completed. The participants were highly diverse with 70 percent coming from underrepresented minority groups. Completion rate of the program was high at 79 percent. The majority of projects were completed by family units, bringing a new dynamic to the programs. The paper reports on the process of program redesign, strategy for attracting students from underrepresented groups, successes, and failures of the programs. The paper highlights the impact of campus-community partnerships (Kania and Kramer, 2011; Bringle and Hatcher, 2002; Kezar, 2010) in program development and execution, the value of family participation and the benefit of a hybrid at-home/socially distanced model for conducting STEM outreach programs. The hybrid model developed has a number of advantages to traditional face-to-face programs and can be adapted for a wide range of STEM outreach programs.

Kitch, W. A., & Robledo, A. L., & Green, W. J. (2021, July), A Model for Conducting K-12 STEM Summer Outreach Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36593

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