June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Pre-College Engineering Education
This report details the design, implementation, and evaluation of a summer engineering research experience for high school students aimed at increasing competence, interest, and belonging – all of which have been found to remove barriers to participation, preparedness, and identity development for students from populations underrepresented in engineering.
The five-week, full-time program focused on engaging minority youth in understanding and addressing socio-technical issues associated with energy engineering projects, an understudied area in K-12 engineering education. Participants included a cadre of five tenth-grade students (three male, two female; four Hispanic, five first-generation) all drawn from one Title 1 public school district in the southwestern US. The program took place on a university campus where the Youth Scholars (YS) were co-mentored by an expert eighth-grade science teacher with background knowledge in photovoltaics and solar energy engineering research, and by an engineer with expertise in sustainability and community solar energy projects. The YS, all of whom had previous technical knowledge of photovoltaics and solar energy from a previous short program, were introduced to socio-technical considerations through reflection on a multilayer design framework for social value creation through energy engineering. They also met with stakeholders associated with each aspect of the model, including members of their own community, city planners, energy service providers, and solar industry leaders. The YS used the framework and their meetings with stakeholders to inform their collaborative design and presentation of a community solar energy engineering project for their own low-income community.
Evaluation measures included pre-post surveys, interviews, written artifacts, and observations. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of data provide evidence that the program successfully supported all participants’ engineering identity development, socio-technical engineering knowledge, increasing agency and ownership of their community energy project, and engineering communication practices, though to varying degrees. It also suggested potential programmatic changes and improvements to the existing social value model for guiding community energy projects. For instance, the Youth Scholars had difficulties differentiating between some layers of the social value model. Further, their community energy project might have avoided some pitfalls by considering policy and governance issues earlier in the design process.
Jordan, M., & Wakefield, W., & DeLaRosa, M., & Miller, C., & Altamirano-Allende, C. (2019, June), Building Youths' Socio-Technical Engineering Knowledge through Engagement in a Community Solar Energy Project (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32490
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