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Board 151: Broadening the Participation of Rural Students in Engineering: Preliminary Findings on the Perspectives of Key Community Members

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

8

DOI

10.18260/1-2--32269

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32269

Download Count

89

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Paper Authors

biography

Stacey L. Vaziri Virginia Tech

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Stacey Vaziri is a PhD candidate in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She received her M.S. in Materials Engineering from Purdue University and her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University. Her research interests include access to higher education and broadening participation in engineering.

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Jacob R. Grohs Virginia Tech

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Jacob Grohs is an Assistant Professor in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech with Affiliate Faculty status in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics and the Learning Sciences and Technologies at Virginia Tech. He holds degrees in Engineering Mechanics (BS, MS) and in Educational Psychology (MAEd, PhD).

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Marie C. Paretti Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2202-6928

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Marie C. Paretti is a Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she directs the Virginia Tech Engineering Communications Center (VTECC). Her research focuses on communication in engineering design, interdisciplinary communication and collaboration, design education, and gender in engineering. She was awarded a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to study expert teaching in capstone design courses, and is co-PI on numerous NSF grants exploring communication, design, and identity in engineering. Drawing on theories of situated learning and identity development, her work includes studies on the teaching and learning of communication, effective teaching practices in design education, the effects of differing design pedagogies on retention and motivation, the dynamics of cross-disciplinary collaboration in both academic and industry design environments, and gender and identity in engineering.

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Liesl M. Baum Virginia Tech

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Dr. Liesl Baum is the Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. She is a former middle school teacher and spent seven years teaching in Virginia public schools. Her research interests and goals are to develop a frame of mind that allows for creativity to develop among students and faculty of all levels. She works with university faculty to identify and build teaching strategies that encourage creativity for learning. Her research and work interests remain across the full realm of education and preparing educators to design and develop teaching and learning opportunities that encourage students to take risks, inquire across multiple disciplines, and participate in grand challenges. Liesl received her B.S. in Middle Education and M.S. in Educational Technology, both from Radford University. She received her doctorate in instructional design and technology from Virginia Tech.

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Marlena McGlothlin Lester Virginia Tech

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Marlena McGlothlin Lester is the Director of Advising for the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She leads the undergraduate advising team and oversees the advising process for all General Engineering students. She is responsible for the development of a hands-on, minds-on orientation model for all first-year engineering students, the creation of a comprehensive engineering major exploration tool, Explore Engineering, and enhancement of the academic planning resources available for first-year engineering students. Marlena strives to transform the advising experience for students and advisors through communication, collaboration, and consistency.

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Phyllis Leary Newbill Virginia Tech

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Dr. Phyllis Newbill is the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator at the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) at Virginia Tech. She serves as the liaison between the university and the Science Museum of Western Virginia and directs the Virginia Tech Science Festival. She has worked in science education at preschool, high school, university, and adult education levels. She has both formal and informal instructional experience. Her research interests include museum learning, science education, critical and creative thinking, outdoor education, gender issues in education, rural education, and incorporating the arts into standards-based instruction. She received a double B.S. in Geology and English from Radford University in 1998. She received her M.S. In Environmental and Engineering Geosciences from Radford University in 2001. She earned her Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in Instructional Design and Technology in 2005. Phyllis has worked with ICAT and its prototypes since 2007.

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Abstract

Project funded by Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC)

While post-secondary enrollment rates have increased for all groups over the last 40 years, higher education enrollment, and specifically enrollment in engineering programs, continues to vary based on demographic characteristics. As a result, efforts to spark interest in engineering among PreK-12 underrepresented students have increased substantially in recent years. However, as past work has demonstrated, interest is not always sufficient to help students pursue engineering majors, particularly for rural students. In many rural communities, strong family networks, community values, and local economic drivers often play a significant role in shaping students’ career choices. To account for these contextual factors, this project shifts the focus from individual students to the communities themselves to understand how key stakeholders and organizations support engineering as a major choice. Our research aims to gain a holistic understanding of the rural communities by employing three phases:

1. Focus groups and interviews with undergraduate engineering students from selected rural high schools that are known for producing high numbers of engineering majors. 2. Interviews with key individuals (e.g. teachers, guidance counselors, community leaders) and observations of activities that emerged as salient in Phase 1. 3. Participatory design workshops to share findings from the first two phases and foster creative dialogue among the rural schools and communities.

The focus groups and individual interviews conducted in Phase 1 provided a rich understanding of how and why undergraduate students from rural high schools selected engineering as a college major. They also laid the foundation for the second phase of this project, which includes interviews with key members of the students' home communities and observations of programs and/or events that emerged as salient. Data collection for Phase 2 will continue through the Spring 2019 semester and our poster will present high-level insights from the interviews and observations.The findings from this phase will allow us to triangulate students’ perceptions with the perceptions and practices of others and will provide a rich understanding of the goals, attitudes, and experiences of community members who often play a key role in students’ decisions.

Vaziri, S. L., & Grohs, J. R., & Paretti, M. C., & Baum, L. M., & McGlothlin Lester, M., & Newbill, P. L. (2019, June), Board 151: Broadening the Participation of Rural Students in Engineering: Preliminary Findings on the Perspectives of Key Community Members Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32269

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