June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.132.1 - 15.132.15
Adventures for Future Engineers: K-12 Outreach Strategies Abstract
Within this manuscript, we will present three K-12 residential summer engineering outreach approaches. Each of these programs has been designed and executed with the aim of instilling an interest in engineering among middle and high school students, with an emphasis of reaching underrepresented populations. The three programs introduced in this paper are the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp (EMBHSSC) for rising sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, Introduction to Engineering (ITE) for rising high school juniors and seniors, and the Leadership, Education, and Development Summer Engineering Institute (LEAD-SEI) which is also geared towards rising high school juniors and seniors.
Each of these curriculums consists of hands on activities, lectures and presentations given by University professors and graduate students, team building exercises, field excursions and tours of both faculty laboratories and the campus. In addition to these traditional enrichment activities, the LEAD-SEI program initiated a group research project strategy, which was highly praised by visiting sponsors, participants and faculty members.
One unique aspect of the EMBHSSC program is the spring follow-up activity that is provided for all campers and their parents. At this follow-up event, all campers and parents participate in the hands-on activities and parents are given the opportunity to learn about other additional enrichment programs in which their children can apply.
Within this paper we will describe the basics of each residential summer program, the recruitment and marketing strategies, the participant selection process, and approaches used to engage these middle and high school students in additional enrichment programs. Beyond this, we will discuss the activity design criteria of each program as they serve a variety of age groups and diverse backgrounds. The paper will conclude with an overview of findings from these three programs, including the quantitative distribution analysis of the applicants’ race and gender, curriculum critiques, ongoing assessment survey reviews, characteristics of the most successful activities, and lessons learned. All of these programs departmental implementation and evaluation experiences will be presented in a format that can be adapted at other higher educational institutions.
Several reports have indicated that the Unites States is challenged with retaining and graduating enough well-qualified science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workers to meet the needs of the economy. 1-5 This shortage of technically skilled workers, threatens the United States stature as a global leader in scientific and technological innovation. At the same time, the demography of the United States continues to shift and it is reported that by 2035 that the present minority population will become the majority.4,5 Unfortunately, the National Science Boards 2008 indicators show that underrepresented groups collectively (African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American Indians/Alaska Natives) constitute 24% of the total U.S. population, 13% of college graduates and only 10% of the college educated population in science
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