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Board # 19 : Expanding Engineering through an S-STEM Program

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Ricky T Castles East Carolina University

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Dr. Ricky Castles is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University. He is primarily affiliated with the ECU Electrical Engineering concentration. His research work focuses on the use of wireless sensor networks, microcontrollers, and physiological data collection for a variety of applications. His primary interest is in the area of adaptive tutorial systems, but he has ongoing projects in the area of hospital patient health monitoring. He is actively engaged in K-12 outreach through several venues including Summer Ventures, high school STEM day, the N.C. Science Olympiad, a Math Science Partnership grant, volunteer work with a local literacy camp, Boy Scouts Robotics Merit Badge counseling, and teaching the science portion of VBS and children's Sunday School at his local church.

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Evelyn C. Brown

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Dr. Brown is a professor in the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University. Most of her research is in the area of applying industrial engineering techniques to health care process improvement. However, she also does research in the area of STEM education. Dr. Brown has published education-related research in INFORMS Transactions on Education, Proceedings of the 2009 ASEE National Meeting, and Proceedings of the 2008 ASEE Southeast Section Meeting. She is PI on an active NSF S-STEM grant in the amount of $599,894.

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The engineering program at East Carolina University was only six and a half years old when it was awarded an S-STEM grant for $599,894 in the spring of 2011. Most of the funds were used to provide scholarships to small cohorts of academically talented, FAFSA-eligible students in the incoming classes of 2011-2014. Participants in the S-STEM scholarship program also benefitted from numerous internal and external engagement and professional development opportunities. This poster examines one specific external engagement opportunity of our S-STEM program - job shadowing with a local engineer. As Bandura and Walters [1] indicate, observing can be a very effective way to learn. One goal of the shadowing experience is for student participants to have a better understanding of what engineers do and what skills are needed in order to be successful. We included the shadowing activity in our S-STEM program in an effort to improve participants’ confidence and self-efficacy. As noted by Ponton et al [2], “vicarious experiences”, such as shadowing and observing, can serve as significant contributors in the enhancement of self-efficacy. Perhaps one of the best features of the shadowing experience is that it requires minimal funds, making it easily replicable at other institutions. Most of the locations that students visit are within 10 miles of campus, so students do not seek reimbursement for mileage. The short travel distance also allows students to maximize their time spent on-site with the company while minimizing the disruption to their academic course schedules. It is our hope to expand the shadowing program so that other students in the department may apply to participate. We believe that an application process is necessary in order to ensure that the student is serious about participating and understands his/her responsibilities associated with this activity. Included in the poster are survey results from S-STEM scholars indicating their perceptions of the shadowing experience and how this experience impacted them. Survey results from the participating employer-partners are included to indicate how shadowing partners felt about the experience, and how the department could improve the shadowing experience in the future.

[1] Bandura, A., and Walters, R. (1963) Social learning and personality development. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New York.

[2] Ponton, M.K., Edmister, J.H., Ukeiley, L.S., Seiner, J.M. (2001) “Understanding the role of self-efficacy in engineering education”. Journal of Engineering Education 90(2), 247-251.

Castles, R. T., & Brown, E. C. (2017, June), Board # 19 : Expanding Engineering through an S-STEM Program Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27800

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