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Coordinated Outreach: A Model of STEAM Outreach Efforts

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Pre-college Engineering Education Division Technical Session 17

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Wendy Roldan University of Washington

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Wendy Roldan is a PhD candidate in Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington studying equity in engineering education. Her work draws from the fields of engineering education, design, and learning sciences.

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Taryn Shalini Bipat University of Washington

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Jessica Carr University of Washington

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Elena Agapie University of Washington


Andrew Davidson University of Washington

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Andrew Davidson is a senior lecturer in human centered design and engineering at the University of Washington, specializing in physical computing and HCI. He directs the department’s K–12 outreach program, and is also a former high school computer science teacher.

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Jennifer A. Turns University of Washington

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Jennifer Turns is a Professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington. She is interested in all aspects of engineering education, including how to support engineering students in reflecting on experience, how to help engineering educators make effective teaching decisions, and the application of ideas from complexity science to the challenges of engineering education.

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Dedicated, ongoing, and coordinated outreach efforts are critical to increasing participation in STEAM fields for underrepresented students. Researchers in education have called attention to the P-20 collaborations between the P-12 and higher education sectors that seek to promote college access, particularly among underrepresented students. In our research, we collected reflective accounts from seven graduate outreach coordinators in an engineering department at a public university involved in STEAM outreach efforts for pre-college students. Understanding how people are approaching the expansion of their STEAM outreach efforts can be valuable to those interested in supporting STEAM outreach efforts in their own contexts. We set out to reflectively trace the history of efforts led by outreach coordinators, the current questions outreach coordinators are facing, and the hidden internal knowledge that exists among our efforts. For this investigation, we ask:

What do key considerations, tensions, and opportunities from K-12 STEAM outreach graduate coordinators suggest about the infrastructure and growth of service-learning and outreach programs?

To answer this question, we used a multiple perspectives methodology in which we collected reflections from key participants in outreach efforts (e.g. those who designed the initial activities, who scaled the outreach to different states, who first launched classroom workshops, who first established library partnerships). Specifically, each participant created a reflective account of their lessons, insights, and surprises. Core to our research is the thematic analysis of the first-hand accounts of participants’ experiences in scaling outreach efforts through partnerships to make diverse perspectives visible. We propose a model of our K-12 STEAM outreach efforts that helps us think about the ways in which each graduate coordinator influences the outreach program while maintaining a core vision and commitment. The implications of this work can support engineering educators involved in pre-college STEAM outreach efforts to consider how design at the infrastructure level can support and attract under-represented students.

Roldan, W., & Bipat, T. S., & Carr, J., & Agapie, E., & Davidson, A., & Turns, J. A. (2020, June), Coordinated Outreach: A Model of STEAM Outreach Efforts Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34335

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