Asee peer logo

Board 86: Grad Student STEM Share: From Pilot Program to Beyond STEM

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Graduate Studies Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Carrie A. Obenland Rice Office of STEM Engagement Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Obenland is the Assistant Director for Outreach and Research at the Rice Office of STEM Engagement. She as her PhD in Chemistry from Rice University, as well as her Masters. Her graduate work was focused on chemical education. She earned her BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

visit author page


Carolyn Nichol Rice University

visit author page

Dr. Carolyn Nichol is a Faculty Fellow in Chemistry and the Director of the Rice Office of STEM Engagement (R-STEM). R-STEM provides teacher professional development to elementary and secondary teachers in science and math content and pedagogy, while also providing STEM outreach to the Houston Community. Dr. Nichol’s research interests are in science education and science policy. She received her B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, her doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, and served as a postdoctoral fellow in the College of Pharmacy at UT Austin. Prior to joining Rice University, she worked at Boehringer Ingelheim on innovative drug delivery systems and she was an Assistant Professor in Diagnostic Radiology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she conducted research on nonviral gene therapy systems. At Rice University she has developed and taught courses in The Department of Bioengineering including Numerical Methods, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Systems Physiology, Biomaterials and Advances in BioNanotechnology.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Our country has been struggling to improve teaching in precollege and university classrooms and to reduce disparities in our school systems for many decades. Particularly, there are growing challenges in K-16 education including the lack of student interest, particularly underrepresented minorities, lack of role models, and the shortage of highly qualified teachers. While not all STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) graduate students go into teaching careers, it is important that they learn how to communicate effectively and have meaningful experiences with diverse students since they are our future leaders in education, industry, non-profits and government. Grad Student STEM Share was launched in 2016 to allow graduate students to gain introductory classroom experiences in a guided manner. Graduate students should feel confident that they can contribute to improving education by volunteering in schools and mentoring students, even if they do not pursue academic careers. In addition, effective communication to a general audience is a critical skill of engineers and scientists in any career path. While researchers have great specialized content knowledge, they do not all have experiences that allow them to appreciate or participate in the issues of urban education. The Grad Student STEM Share program facilitated graduate students and postdocs in introducing their research, as well as the concept of graduate studies, into secondary classrooms in the Houston area. Graduate student and postdoc participants from a variety of disciplines, mainly STEM, worked in pairs to create presentations of their current research and educational backgrounds. They also designed demonstrations, experiments, or hands on activities to make their research more approachable to the middle school or high school students. These presentations were practiced before the group during weekly seminars with peers and master teachers. After receiving both written and oral feedback the pairs updated their presentations and took them to classrooms to share with the local students. Grad Student STEM Share program provided several leadership development opportunities with specific and translatable skills including communication, teaching, coordination of meetings and events, follow-up, teamwork, planning, presentation skills, and networking, as well as optional leadership coaching. Detailed feedback from the graduate students and the teachers whose classrooms they visited was positive and will be presented in this paper, as well as details on the pilot year, full implementation, program administration, and future plans.

Obenland, C. A., & Nichol, C. (2019, June), Board 86: Grad Student STEM Share: From Pilot Program to Beyond STEM Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32446

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015