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Board 122: Growth from the STEM: Exploring an International Model of Apprenticeship for Outreach Programs (Work in Progress)

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Darlee Gerrard University of Toronto

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Darlee Gerrard is a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering Education at the University of Toronto. She received her Hon. B.Sc. from the University of Toronto, B.Ed. from Brock University, and Masters degree from Memorial University. She coordinates leadership and community outreach programs in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, co-curricular and experiential learning, and the equity and accessibility of education.

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Paul R. Chiarot State University of New York at Binghamton

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Dr. Chiarot received the BASc, MASc, and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto and was a post doctoral research associate at the University of Rochester. He has published over twenty papers in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings and has one issued US patent. Dr. Chiarot joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2011 where he directs the Microfluidics and Multiphase Flow Laboratory. Dr. Chiarot was the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award in 2016.

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This Work in Progress paper describes experiences and lessons learned through a unique, international collaboration between universities in Canada and the United States. We explore the development of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) outreach program for K-12 students in New York’s Southern Tier, through alliance with an existing outreach organization based in Canada. Undergraduate students from New York spent summers in Ontario, Canada to gain insight and experience into the processes and operations of an effective outreach program. Upon returning to their home institution, the students deployed this knowledge by developing and delivering curriculum locally. We outline the progress to date and discuss the elements of this ‘apprenticeship model’ aimed at developing new outreach programs focused on STEM literacy and engagement. Our model ultimately serves the strengths of the participating institutions and the needs of their communities. We explore initial data surrounding the pedagogical significance of this experience from undergraduate instructor reflections and participating teacher feedback, which reveals the nature of STEM at work in this unique K-12 informal setting.

This work in progress paper will seek to answer the following research questions: • What are the characteristics of this collaboration? • What experiences do undergraduate students have in this experience? Are they pedagogically significant? • What is the nature of STEM in this program?

The reported impact of outreach programs exist not only on the improvement of the scientific aptitude of teachers and students, but also on the “spirit of teaching science” in schools. The need for these programs is attributed to concerns of student attrition in STEM fields, which can present as high as one-half after the first year. The motivation for this work transcends disciplinary and national borders to focus on the needs of the pre-college or pre-university student. Our goal is to provide early interventions toward attracting children and youth into STEM fields and to confront challenges that impede access to achievement in STEM. Both a ‘pipeline’ and 'multi-pathway' model can be considered in discussions regarding student success in STEM fields. Prior investigations advocate for: (i) increased collaboration between and across the traditional and non-traditional spaces for education to better serve students, (ii) enriched content learned in school classrooms, toward supporting student transition from one stage of education to the next, (iii) cultivating confidence and competence in STEM fields and (iv) supporting informed decisions regarding study and career choices. We hope to share our experience and construct a model of collaboration that can be replicated across organizations and institutions to drive the success of similar programs. This paper focuses primarily on the nature of this collaboration and probes the experience of the student instructor as an important, but largely unexplored, area of interest.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation.

Gerrard, D., & Chiarot, P. R. (2018, June), Board 122: Growth from the STEM: Exploring an International Model of Apprenticeship for Outreach Programs (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29901

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