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An Integrated Approach To Engineering Education In A Minority Community

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.73.1 - 2.73.4

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Paper Authors

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Dale Ross

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Bill Taylor

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

Session 2470

An Integrated Approach to Engineering Education in a Minority Community

Bill Taylor, Dale Ross New Mexico Highlands University

Summary: Northeastern New Mexico epitomizes regions which are economically depressed, rural, and predominantly Hispanic. New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU), with a student population of approximately 2900, offers a familiar environment attracting students who might otherwise not attend college.

An outreach computer network of minority schools was created in northeastern New Mexico with NASA funding. These schools have gained electronic access to each other, to computer resources, to technical help at New Mexico Highlands University and have gained access to the world via the Internet. An outreach program was initiated in the fall of 1992 in an effort to attract and to involve minority students in Engineering and the related sciences. To date, we have installed 56 Kbs Internet connections to eight elementary schools, two middle schools, two high schools, a public library (servicing the home schooling community) and two preparatory schools. For another fourteen rural schools, we provided computers and free dial-up service to servers on the NMHU campus.

Internet training programs for pre-college teachers have been presented several times each year. Trained teachers, in turn, have become responsible for transmitting their Internet expertise to their colleagues and students. In the advanced Internet course, teachers create their own home pages and in the Internet administration course, selected teachers learn how to maintain their school’s computer network and Internet servers. Computer networking provides the electronic backbone for integrated Engineering outreach activities: Young Astronauts and MESA tutoring for middle school students, Supercomputing Challenge and Discovery Day for high school students. Each summer, two university Engineering students participate in internship experiences at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. This NASA grant has also funded such student development projects as the establishment of student SHPE and AISES chapters, local research symposia and travel for student presentations at national conferences (SACNAS and NCUR).

Network-based Connectivity for Local Schools: As ever more schools in the USA are gaining access to the Internet, NASA has made this movement a reality in rural, northeastern New Mexico. Access to Internet enables students and teachers to become part of an international community of researchers, educators, and students and makes available resources that no single school district or community could provide.1,2 This is especially significant to the school districts of northeastern New Mexico that too often find themselves isolated with marginal resources. Highlands University has established a computer network comprising the two school districts in the Las Vegas area linked to the NMHU local area network.

We created this network for the elementary, middle and high schools in the hopes of improving science and mathematics education. We see this as a key component of an ongoing effort to bring

Ross, D., & Taylor, B. (1997, June), An Integrated Approach To Engineering Education In A Minority Community Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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