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Building Skills in Engineering: Hand and Power Tool Workshops for Confidence and Retention

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 7

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Pamela L Dickrell University of Florida

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Dr. Pamela Dickrell is the Associate Director of the Institute for Excellence in Engineering Education, in the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Her role as Associate Director of the Institute focuses on effective teaching methods and hands-on learning opportunities for undergraduate student engagement and retention. Dr. Dickrell received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, specializing in Tribology.

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This work examines a pilot program for undergraduate students on the use of common hand and power tools through a series of 8 weekly hands-on workshops led by a female faculty member as an open opportunity to gain building skills. The goals of the program include: a) Creating a safe environment for engineering students to learn, build, fail & redesign, without pressure of grades or deliverables; b) Increasing individual student tool knowledge, basic making skills, and confidence, so when in group projects later they do not shy away from the design and building portion of team based engineering projects; c) Improving student skills for increased participation in engineering societies, internships, hands-on outreach projects, and student build teams; and d) Promoting a culture of making within all engineering students. Two groups of students were included in this study to examine female-only versus co-ed environment; a 20-person group of female students (Building Women in Engineering), and a 20-person group of co-ed students (Building Skills in Engineering). Students from all engineering majors, and all years of undergraduate studies were represented. Both groups had the same female faculty member and female undergraduate peer mentor leading the hands-on tool workshops with them each week. Students were surveyed before, throughout, and following the 8 weeks of workshops to examine the impact of participation on their self-confidence and interest in the hands-on aspects of engineering studies. Both qualitative (opened ended questions) and quantitative (likert questions) about impressions pre-, during- and post- build groups are included in this work and can be examined by engineering major, year of study, gender, and ethnic background. Additionally, outlines of the tools, build space, and individual workshop projects are included for peer universities interested in developing their own hand & power tool build groups.

Dickrell, P. L. (2018, June), Building Skills in Engineering: Hand and Power Tool Workshops for Confidence and Retention Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30164

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