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Are We Growing the Next Generation of Bioengineers? An Ecological Assessment of One BioInstitute Summer Camp

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

K-12 Students and Teachers

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.225.1 - 22.225.12



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Paper Authors


Robin Guill Liles North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

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Robin Guill Liles is Associate Professor in counseling and counselor education in the Department of Human Development and Services in the School of Education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro. Liles is a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor. Liles' is also Associate Director for Educational Assessment for the NCA&T Engineering Research Center Education and Outreach program, and she is co-principal investigator for research on the NSF Content Mentoring of Middle Grade Math and Science Teachers research study. Her teaching interests include assessment and appraisal, instrument construction, education research methodology, and research ethics.

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Courtney Lambeth North Carolina A&T State University

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Cindy Waters North Carolina A&T State University (Eng)


Devdas M. Pai North Carolina A&T State University (Eng)

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Devdas Pai is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at NC A&T State University. He serves as Director for Education and Outreach in the NSF ERC for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials. His research and teaching interests are in the area of manufacturing processes and materials engineering.

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Are We Growing the Next Generation of Bioengineers? An Ecological Assessment of One Bio-Institute Summer CampDuring the summer 2010 local high school students attended a week long Bio-Institute SummerCamp on a university campus. This was the second year of the summer camp which is part of aNational Science Foundation Engineering Research Center’s Education and Outreach Program.The Bio-Institute was made possible through a collaborative effort between two geographicallydistant campuses. This five-day commuter camp served students in 8th through 11th grade withthe goals of: 1) introducing students to bioengineering, and 2) encouraging them to pursue abaccalaureate degree in tissue engineering. Participants were chosen from a robust applicantpool, including both underrepresented populations and a diverse cross-section of high schools.Topics introduced included Tissue Engineering (TE) and Regenerative Medicine which arerevolutionary technologies that offer hope to people with compromised tissue function.Borrowing from the field of child development, Bronfenbrenner’s Person-Process-Context-Time(PPCT) ecological theory was utilized as a foundation for assessment planning. PPCT ecologicaltheory posits that development results from multidirectional and interactional processes,occurring over time, between developing individuals and the context in which they learn, work,and live (Bronfenbrenner,1989, 1993; Bronfenbrenner & Ceci, 1993; Bronfenbrenner & Morris,1998). Ecological research requires systematic study of proximal process, person characteristics,contextual influences, and time effects. With this philosophical perspective in mind, a mixed-methods design was implemented to measure change in student understanding of (and interest in)science, engineering, and medicine, as well as their knowledge of tissue engineering andregenerative medicine. Measurements included pre-/post-assessments of both domain-specificcontent and the overall camping experiences. In addition, a focus group was conducted to obtainqualitative data from camp counselors concerning camp teaching and learning efficacy. Finally,follow up data were collected from campers and their parents to determine long-term effects ofthe camping experience.This paper will describe ecological assessment, including its philosophical underpinnings,discuss the general strategy of the camp, provide an overview of the teaching and learningmodules, and report evaluation results from admissions data and surveys collected from summer2010 camp, as well as compare these results with those obtained in summer 2009. ReferencesBronfenbrenner, U. (1989). Ecological systems theory. In R. Vasta (Ed.), Annals of child development, Vol. 6 (pp. 187-249). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Bronfenbrenner, U. (1993). The ecology of cognitive development: research models and fugitive findings. In R. Wozniak & K. Fischer (Eds.), Development in context: Acting and thinking in specific environments (pp. 3-44). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Bronfenbrenner, U., & Ceci, S. (1994). Nature-nurture reconceptualized in developmental perspective: A bioecological model. Psychological Resview, 101, 568-586.Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P.A. (1998). The ecology of developmental processes. In W. Damon & R.M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 1: theoretical models of human development. (pp. 993-1023). New York: John Wiley.

Liles, R. G., & Lambeth, C., & Waters, C., & Pai, D. M. (2011, June), Are We Growing the Next Generation of Bioengineers? An Ecological Assessment of One BioInstitute Summer Camp Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17506

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