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Board 15: Introducing Students to Engineering by Helping Them RePicture Their World

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Civil Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Lynn Mayo P.E. RePicture Engineering, PBC

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Lynn Mayo holds a M.S. in civil engineering from Stanford University and a B.S in civil engineering from Bucknell University. After working for over 30 years as a civil engineer, she became CEO of RePicture Engineering, PBC. RePIcture Engineering is dedicated to increasing interest and diversity in engineering by telling the stories of engineering projects, engineers, and organizations. Through the site, we are helping students discover careers shaping the future and helping companies attract innovators.

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Carolyn Voter University of Wisconsin-Madison Orcid 16x16

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Carolyn Voter is a Ph.D. candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison where she focuses on urban hydroecology as part of the Hydroecology Lab with Dr. Steven P. Loheide II. She also currently serves as the project assistant for Water@UW-Madison, an umbrella organization which connects water scholars on the UW-Madison campus and beyond. As a certified instructor for the Software Carpentry Foundation, Voter regularly teaches scientists and engineers best practices for scientific computing by live-coding in a two-day, learner-centered workshop. She completed her Delta Certificate in Teaching, Research, and Learning through the Delta Program at UW-Madison (part of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning) in January 2018. Voter received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Bucknell University.

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The RePicture App ( is a new way to introduce students and the public to engineering and interdisciplinary engineering teams. It uses the stories of engineering and engineers to change perceptions of engineering. The App’s goal is to increase interest and diversity in engineering and can be used in introductory engineering courses to increase students’ persistence.

Research shows that high school teachers and students generally do not understand what engineers do and the public does not know that engineers play a vital role in saving lives. Even engineering students often mistakenly think that most engineers sit alone at desks doing math. They may not fully understand the breadth of engineer’s work or its benefits to society. This lack of understanding impacts engineering students’ persistence in engineering.

Stories about actual engineers show that engineering is creative, collaborative, and makes a real difference in people’s lives. The RePicture App uses engineering projects all around us to tell the stories of how engineering projects are benefiting communities and the teams that make projects come to life. The App also tells the stories of individual engineers, including what they do daily on the job and why they like their job. These stories show how the work done by engineers is shaping our future and introduces students to the many different types of engineering jobs. The App also highlights that all types of people (e.g., women and other underrepresented groups) are successful engineers.

There is no cost to use the RePicture App and it is freely available for any course where students will benefit from learning more about engineering projects or engineers. The App was developed based on a review of research regarding how to increase students’, including female students’, interest in engineering as a career.

This paper discusses the potential benefits of using the App in introductory engineering courses. Because most of the data currently contained in the App regards civil engineering, we expect civil engineering courses initially will be most interested in its use. During the coming months, more stories will be added for other engineering disciplines. This is a work in progress and our goal is to present research results at a future ASEE conference.

Mayo, L., & Voter, C. (2019, June), Board 15: Introducing Students to Engineering by Helping Them RePicture Their World Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32265

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