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A New High School Teacher Engineering Awareness Program: Increasing The Stem Pipeline

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Technological Literacy and K-12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.66.1 - 15.66.17



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Paper Authors


Vaneshette Henderson Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

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Vaneshette Henderson is the Pre-College Programs Coordinator for the Office for Diversity Programs with the Louisiana State University College of Engineering. She received her bachelor’s degree in physics from Xavier University of Louisiana; master’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan; she will receive her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from LSU in May of 2010. Her research interests and areas of specializations include pre-college science and engineering education, informal program learning and teaching, recruitment, retention and development of underrepresented students in STEM disciplines.

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Kelly Rusch Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

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Kelly A. Rusch is the Associate Dean for Research and Diversity within the Louisiana State University College of Engineering and the Formosa Plastics Endowed Full Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her research expertise is in surface water quality monitoring and modeling, decentralized wastewater treatment for coastal areas, biological reactor development for microalgae/zooplankton cultivation, environmental degradation of bio-plastics and engineering education. Dr. Rusch is also a registered Professional Civil Engineer in the State of Louisiana.

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Brenda Nixon Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

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Brenda Nixon is currently the Co-Director for the Louisiana State University Gordon A. Cain Center for STEM Literacy, Director for Great Explorations in Math and Science Cain Center Site, and the Director of Outreach for the Center for BioModular Multi-Scale Systems. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from LSU. She also obtained her master’s degree and doctorate in curriculum and instruction from LSU. She has been actively engaged in providing STEM professional development for Louisiana teachers and evaluating STEM education programs.

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Warren Waggenspack Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

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Warren N. Waggenspack, Jr. is currently the Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Engineering and holder of the Ned Adler Professorship in Mechanical Engineering at Louisiana State University. He obtained both his baccalaureate and master's degrees from LSU ME and his doctorate from Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering. He has been actively engaged in teaching, research and curricula development since joining the faculty in 1988.

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

A New High School Teacher Engineering Awareness Program: Increasing the STEM Pipeline


In June 2009, the College of Engineering’s Office for Diversity Programs at Louisiana State University (LSU) and the LSU Center for Scientific, Technological, Engineering and Mathematical Literacy hosted the first annual High School Teacher Engineering Awareness Program (HSTEAP). Funded by Marathon Oil Corporation, HSTEAP was developed by faculty and staff of LSU and hired facilitators. The Office for Diversity Programs at LSU instituted HSTEAP to help Louisiana science and mathematics teachers build an engineering infrastructure of knowledge and understanding, thereby promoting and strengthening the positive image of engineering and increasing interest in the high school classroom.

The program consisted of a series of one week mini-workshops on the fundamentals of engineering and exposure of different engineering disciplines. Same-school math and science teacher pairs from rural, suburban and urban areas of Louisiana were selected for the program. The purpose of choosing a same-school math and science teacher pair was for them to co-teach the same activity in their respective classrooms, so students would be able to see the immediate math and science connection in engineering. Participants completed pre- and post-content tests that determined their knowledge and understanding of basic engineering principles, as well as pre- and post-assessments of their confidence levels to authentically introduce and apply engineering concepts in their classrooms. At the end of the program, there was significant improvement in overall teacher understanding of engineering and the confidence to teach certain engineering concepts to students. Teachers also completed a closed- and open-ended to survey during the middle of the fall 2010 semester, in which they shared their changes in classroom practice and student outcomes due to their participation in HSTEAP.

After the program, the teachers received a participation stipend, materials, and a travel award to attend the Louisiana science and math conferences in which they shared their HSTEAP and high school classroom engineering experiences.


Corporations and higher education systems across the country are hosting engineering professional development workshops to educate secondary school teachers about engineering1-5. Their hope is to excite and empower their teachers, so they will in turn excite and empower their students, therefore, increasing the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pipeline1-5. By developing their expertise and the appropriate strategies, teachers will be better prepared to incorporate engineering-based applications and concepts in their math and science courses. Increasing the STEM pipeline also means introducing STEM concepts, majors and careers to a more diverse audience.

In 2008, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) released a report showing a growing opportunity gap in the number of minority students pursuing degrees and

Henderson, V., & Rusch, K., & Nixon, B., & Waggenspack, W. (2010, June), A New High School Teacher Engineering Awareness Program: Increasing The Stem Pipeline Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16526

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015