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Building Engineers and Mentors: A Model for Student-Led Engineering Outreach

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Extending a Hand Back: Older Students Inspiring Younger Students

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.302.1 - 22.302.15



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Paper Authors


AJ Almaguer University of California, Berkeley

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AJ Almaguer studied Mechanical Engineering and Material Science Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He was one of the founding members of BEAM.

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Roy Tangsombatvisit University of California, Berkeley

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Matthew Ford University of California, Berkeley


Susan Yushan Chen University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley Engineers and Mentors

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I am a Bioengineering senior at UC, Berkeley. I joined BEAM in my junior year because I have always wanted to mentor. I have since been working with BEAM as staff and mentor. I have also helped establish BEAM as a more prominent engineering outreach organization on campus. I plan to enroll in graduate school and pursue a Ph.D. in Bioengineering.

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Lisa A. Pruitt University of California, Berkeley

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Professor Lisa Pruitt has been on the faculty of Mechanical Engineering at University of California, Berkeley since 1998. Her research is focused on structure–property relationships in orthopedic tissues, biomaterials and medical polymers. Her current projects include the assessment of fatigue fracture mechanisms and tribological performance of orthopedic biomaterials, as well as characterization of tissues and associated devices. Attention is focused on wear, fatigue, fracture and multiaxial loading. Retrievals of orthopedic implants are characterized to model in vivo degradation and physiological loading. She uses medical implant analysis for structure-function-performance is performed to optimize device design. BAFM, confocal microscopy, wear testing, fatigue testing, fracture mechanics analysis, and nanoindentation. Teaching experience includes the freshman course entitled Introduction to Engineering Design and Analysis, undergraduate courses on Mechanical Behavior Materials, Structural Aspects of Biomaterials, and Principles of Bioengineering; graduate courses on Fracture Mechanics, Mechanical Behavior of Materials, Polymer Engineering, and Teaching Methodologies for Graduate Student Instructors.

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Neil Ray University of California, Berkeley

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Student Engineers and Mentors—a model organization for student led k-12 outreachAbstract Outreach and broadening participation in engineering is a top priority for the field ofengineering. Diversification of the student population remains a challenge for most university campuses.As part of an effort to enhance diversity and broaden the participation in engineering, undergraduateswithin the college of engineering developed a student-led club and a two-unit class that trains collegestudents to teach science and engineering concepts. The course focuses on teaching lower-grade levels(k-8), leading hands-on projects, managing a classroom and delivering college-level lectures to youngerpeers. The student-led outreach program, with more than fifty volunteer mentors, offers teaching andmentorship to nearly one hundred K-12 children the local area. This student group also coordinatesoutreach events hosted by engineering groups and societies including Hispanic Engineers and Scientistsand the Society of Women Engineers and assists with the organization of Engineering 4 Kids Day, ahighly successful day-long campus event that exposes children to the excitement of engineering. Our organization operates at outreach programs at 13 different schools in our local community.Each week to create and learn the projects they then teach at their respective sites. Students who enrollin the class commit to a full semester of weekly mentoring. Outside of mentoring, volunteers also helpwith the creation of lesson plans that are used in the later part of the semester. We are therefore ableto build a database of activities for future semesters while encouraging volunteers to take an active andcreative role in their mentoring initiative. The principal methodology we will use to achieve our commitment is a project- based approachwhich will allow students to conduct weekly experiments involving topics ranging from electronics tophysiology. These projects will give students an opportunity to approach science through a novelengineering perspective rarely encouraged in mainstream elementary education. During the weeklysession, students will apply classroom knowledge as well as additional concepts introduced by us to theengineering design process, thereby learning critical thinking and prototype-development skills. This club has a committed and well-balanced officer team and a strong and growinginfrastructure on campus. There is one overall director who oversees the management of both sections.Each section has a set of coordinators that have control of the organizational aspects of the program.Within the elementary/middle school section, each coordinator takes on the responsibility of onevolunteer site. Coordinators also lead the creation of lesson plans. This club has the potential to serve as a model for any university. In fact, we are already in theworks of branching out to a sister university. We aspire that our organization grows into a nation-widenetwork of engineering mentors and leaders.-

Almaguer, A., & Tangsombatvisit, R., & Ford, M., & Chen, S. Y., & Pruitt, L. A., & Ray, N. (2011, June), Building Engineers and Mentors: A Model for Student-Led Engineering Outreach Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17583

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