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Board 126: Examining the Interactions Related to Role Modeling in an Elementary Outreach Program (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

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Karen Miel Tufts University Orcid 16x16


Merredith D. Portsmore Tufts University

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Dr. Merredith Portsmore is the Director for Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach ( Merredith received all four of her degrees from Tufts (B.A. English, B.S. Mechanical Engineering, M.A. Education, PhD in Engineering Education). Her research interests focus on how children engage in designing and constructing solutions to engineering design problems and evaluating students’ design artifacts. Her outreach work focuses on creating resources for K-12 educators to support engineering education in the classroom. She is also the founder of STOMP (, and (

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Adam V. Maltese Indiana University Orcid 16x16

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Kelli Paul Indiana University Orcid 16x16

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A major driver in K-12 engineering education has been university-based outreach initiatives. In the U.S, there are an estimated 600,000 K-12 students participating in university-led engineering outreach annually (Iversen, 2014-2015). Reaching students as young as elementary school is important as students form their interest and impressions in engineering and other STEM disciplines early (Galton in Ormerod & Duckworth, 1975, p. 39; Maltese & Tai, 2010; Tai, Qiu,Liu, Maltese, & Fan, 2006) and those interests often decline in middle school (Murphy & Beggs, 2003; Neathery, 1997; Ormerod & Duckworth, 1975; Osborne, Simon, & Collins, 2003. University engineering students are often positioned as role models for the K-12 students they work with. However, to date, little research has been done on how students select role models and how to optimize the interactions between young students and university students to increase the likelihood that they will be taken as role models

This paper will show preliminary data and analysis from an NSF-funded research project that is examining the dynamics between undergraduate university students providing outreach and elementary school student participants. The paper will focus on a case-study of a single 4th grade classroom and how different dynamics related to sharing personal information, engineering identity, and other interests interact with elementary school students identifying undergraduate engineering students as role models. Potential codes for larger qualitative studies will be shared as well as preliminary quantitative results from surveys instruments (EIDS, Draw an Engineer).

Miel, K., & Portsmore, M. D., & Maltese, A. V., & Paul, K. (2018, June), Board 126: Examining the Interactions Related to Role Modeling in an Elementary Outreach Program (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29910

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