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A Model For Successful Outreach

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.24.1 - 3.24.5



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Paper Authors

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Richard Gilbert

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James Solomon

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Marilyn Barger Hillsborough Community College

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1280

A Model for Successful Outreach

James Solomon, Marilyn Barger, Richard Gilbert University of Dayton Research Institute/FAMU-FSU College of Engineering /University of South Florida

Abstract It is self enlightened survival for engineering disciplines to become involved in outreach programs. This fact is subliminally recognized in most engineering colleges and engineering dependent industries. In these situations, the issues boil down to "how should it be done?". There are several models available that range from individuals with a common interest in engineering education volunteering their time on Saturday mornings through organized programs sponsored by NSF or NASA. Each of these models can be effective within the boundaries of their mission statements. However, one highly affective and very efficient outreach model is to directly deliver the message to the high school science teacher.

There are important characteristics that must be met if the engineering outreach program is to successfully impact the performance of a science educator. First, it cannot be focused on just the physics teacher. Second, it has to include a healthy dose of engineering science concepts and must include instructors across engineering disciplines. Third, it has to have a hands-on element that can be easily transported to all high school laboratories and translated into all science courses taught. Finally, such an outreach program cannot be a parochial effort, but must be national in scope.

This paper will describe a very successful engineering outreach program that meets these criteria. The Science Educator Workshop sponsored by the American Vacuum Society (AVS) has been working with high school science teachers throughout the country for eight years. This workshop provides a focused educational experience annually to 30 high school biology, chemistry, and physics teachers brought together for two days in an extremely professional environment enhanced by corporate and university support.

Introduction Outreach means many things to many people and there certainly is a need for each of its many modes. Some traditional modes for high school science courses include providing specific simplified case studies as classroom exercises; providing videos and computer simulations to enhance and expand the student learning experience; and providing project, laboratory activities, and demonstrations to reinforce instructional concepts. In addition, sometimes human resources are added to the recipe when science and engineering professionals volunteer to give guest lectures; to conduct out-of-class accelerated and/or remedial sessions; to organize and facilitate various science-related competitions and contests; and to provide direct individual mentoring to enhance student motivation and success. All of these and many other examples of outreach are extremely valuable and share some common characteristics. They tend to focus on immediate local needs and the energy spent on each is applied directly to the student.

Another important perspective of outreach is not to directly focus attention on the student, but rather on their primary resource, the high school science educator. This strategy provides the additional opportunity to address important fundamental engineering and science issues. There is no doubt, that the

Gilbert, R., & Solomon, J., & Barger, M. (1998, June), A Model For Successful Outreach Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7288

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