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Best practices in Encouraging STEM Majors Among 6-12 Students

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Interest & Identity

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Mary Ann Jacobs Manhattan College

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Mary Ann Jacobs, scc is an associate professor in the School of Education. She prepares secondary teacher candidates in all content areas through her courses in secondary pedagogy. Her areas of interest include STEM education, brain compatible strategies, and action research in the classroom.

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Zahra Shahbazi Manhattan College

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Zhahra Shahbazi is as an assistant professor of Mechanical engineering at Manhattan College. She earned a B.S. degree from the University of Tehran (mechanical engineering), M.S. from Amir Kabir University of Techonology (biomedical engineering) and a Ph.D. degrees from the University of Conecticut (mechanical engineering). She also received a certificate in college instruction from the University of Connecticut. Her current research involves modeling and simulation of protein molecules as nano bio robots with applications in new drug design. The other aspect of her research is engineering education.

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The world is always in need of people who are interested and knowledgeable in STEM topics. Engineering Ambassadors is an initiative that consists of university students who are committed to this goal of fulfilling the STEM need in society from engineering and education majors. By implementing this program throughout the years, best practices for accomplishing this goal began to emerge. One major realization is that to continue the growth of those with STEM knowledge, there are two groups of people who need a lot of exposure. This paper will focus on those two groups and how to best reach them. The first group is the 6-12 students. When primary and secondary school students demonstrate a talent in STEM, it is important to encourage these students in their pursuit of the material. To measure the success of the encouragement, one must begin asking some valuable questions. Which lesson plans were most successful? Did the students seem engaged? What types of questions did the students ask the presenters? Engineering Ambassador members, along with the students, can provide much insight as to the answers. The second group is that of STEM teachers. These teachers must simplify complicated concepts to a level which primary and secondary students understand, while also ensuring that their demonstration of these concepts is entertaining. As many of the Engineering Ambassadors are engineering majors, there is a wide sample of how concepts were learned, along with new ideas for how to teach them. The first-hand experience of learning these concepts, combined with advanced comprehension of the concepts, allows the Engineering majors an advantage when approaching the design of a STEM lesson plan. To show the distinction between the exposure of future STEM teachers to engineers versus those who remain only within the Education department will be shown by the distinction of responses from Education majors who were part of Engineering Ambassadors program and those who didn’t participate.

Jacobs, M. A., & Shahbazi, Z. (2019, June), Best practices in Encouraging STEM Majors Among 6-12 Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32147

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