New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
A need exists to inspire female high school students to study engineering, and one approach is to expose students to the different engineering disciplines and highlight current technological problems that require multidisciplinary approaches. The objective of a week-long residential summer program was to introduce high school females to six engineering disciplines and multidisciplinary approaches through interactive topic lessons, a real-world group project and professional development sessions to excite female students about current engineering applications and careers. The group project tasked students with the problem of designing and implementing a hydraulic fracturing site given a variety of site condition design constraints. The interactive structure of the open-ended design project uniquely provided high school students with the opportunity to gain personal, interpersonal and technical engineering skills while highlighting the significance of multidisciplinary approaches to current technological advancements within the oil and energy industry. As a multidisciplinary team, each person was assigned the role of a specific engineering discipline, and each role was tasked with design objectives to collaborate with all disciplines to submit one engineering design solution. The project challenged students to address the current technological problem of hydraulic fracturing by working in interdisciplinary teams. Each team orally presented a design solution addressing the project’s stated design challenges to an audience consisting of program instructors, peers and parents. Assessment instruments of student performance during the group project included: (a) an oral presentation rubric utilized by program instructors to evaluate team presentations on delivery, content, organization, and audience awareness; (b) pre- and post-program questionnaires to evaluate the impact of the team project on students’ grasp of the importance of multidisciplinary design approaches; and (c) a pre- and post-program Likert scale assessing student perception in self-development of engineering skills following the completion of the group project and summer program. The evaluation of the team presentations indicated that following the completion of the summer program’s open-ended project, students were able to work in multidisciplinary teams while explaining the roles the different disciplines culminating to an engineering design. Results from assessment instruments also highlighted strengths and areas for improvement of engineering skills which students identified after working through a multidisciplinary approach to a design problem.
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